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The Glenn Negley Collection 
of Utopian Literature 


CtdftA toSt* (to (3u£cv~l< - /. vuty 







The Right of Translation is reserved 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2010 with funding from 
Duke University Libraries 








I am a native of , in the United States of 

America. My ancestors migrated from England 
in the reign of Charles II. ; and my grandfather 
was not undistinguished in the "War of Indepen- 
dence. My family, therefore, enjoyed a somewhat 
high social position in right of birth ; and being 
also opulent, they were considered disqualified 
for the public service. My father once ran for 
Congress, but was signally defeated by his tailor. 
After that event he interfered little in politics, 
and lived much in his library. I was the eldest 
of three sons, and sent at the age of sixteen to 
the old country, partly to complete my literary 
education, partly to commence my commercial 



training in a mercantile firm at Liverpool. My 
father died shortly after I was twenty-one ; and 
being left well off, and having a taste for travel 
and adventure, I resigned, for a time, all pursuit 
of the almighty dollar, and became a desultory 
wanderer over the face of the earth. 

In the year 18 — , happening to be in , 

I was invited by a professional engineer, with 
whom I had made acquaintance, to visit the 

recesses of the mine, upon which he was 


The reader will understand, ere he close this 
narrative, my reason for concealing all clue to 
the district of which I write, and will perhaps 
thank me for refraining from any description 
that may tend to its discovery. 

Let me say, then, as briefly as possible, that I 
accompanied the engineer into the interior of the 
mine, and became so strangely fascinated by 
its gloomy wonders, and so interested in my 
friend's explorations, that I prolonged my stay 
in the neighbourhood, and descended daily, for 
some weeks, into the vaults and galleries hol- 
lowed by nature and art beneath the surface of 


the earth. The engineer was persuaded that far 
richer deposits of mineral wealth than had yet 
been detected, would be found in a new shaft 
that had been commenced under his operations. 
In piercing this shaft we came one day upon a 
chasm jagged and seemingly charred at the sides, 
as if burst asunder at some distant period by 
volcanic fires. Down this chasm my friend 
caused himself to be lowered in a ' cage,' having 
first tested the atmosphere by the safety-lamp. 
He remained nearly an hour in the abyss. When 
he returned he was very pale, and with an 
anxious, thoughtful expression of face, very 
different from its ordinary character, which was 
open, cheerful, and fearless. 

He said briefly that the descent appeared to 
him unsafe, and leading to no result ; and, 
suspending further operations in the shaft, we 
returned to the more familiar parts of the mine. 

All the rest of that day the engineer seemed 
preoccupied by some absorbing thought. He 
was unusually taciturn, and there was a scared, 
bewildered look in his eyes, as that of a man 
who has seen a ghost. At night, as we two 


wtiv Bitting alone in the lodging we shared to- 

o o o 

gether near the mouth of the mine, I said to my 
friend, — 

"Tell me frankly what you saw in that chasm: 
1 am sure it was something strange and terrible. 
Whatever it be, it has left your mind in a state 
of doubt. In such a case two heads are better 
than one. Confide in me." 

The engineer long endeavoured to evade my 
inquiries ; but as, while he spoke, he helped him- 
self unconsciously out of the brandy-flask to a 
degree to which he was wholly unaccustomed, 
for he was a very temperate man, his reserve 
gradually melted away. He who would keep 
himself to himself should imitate the dumb 
animals, and drink water. At last he said, " I 
will tell you all. When the cage stopped, I 
found myself on a ridge of rock ; and below me, 
the chasm, taking a slanting direction, shot down 
to a considerable depth, the darkness of which 
my lamp could not have penetrated. But through 
it, to my infinite surprise, streamed upward a 
steady brilliant light. Could it be any volcanic 
lire \ in that case, surely I should have felt the 


heat. Still, if on this there was doubt, it was of 
the utmost importance to our common safety to 
clear it up. I examined the sides of the descent, 
and found that I could venture to trust myself to 
the irregular projections or ledges, at least for 
some way. I left the cage and clambered down. 
As I drew near and nearer to the light, the chasm 
became wider, and at last I saw, to my unspeak- 
able amaze, a broad level road at the bottom of 
the abyss, illumined as far as the eye could reach 
by what seemed artificial gas -lamps placed at 
regular intervals, as in the thoroughfare of a great 
city ; and I heard confusedly at a distance a hum 
as of human voices. I know, of course, that no 
rival miners are at work in this district. Whose 
could be those voices ? What human hands 
could have levelled that road and marshalled 
those lamps 1 

" The superstitious belief, common to miners, 
that gnomes or fiends dwell within the bowels 
of the earth, began to seize me. I shuddered at 
the thought of descending further and braving 
the inhabitants of this nether valley. Nor indeed 
could I have done so without ropes, as from the 


spot I had reached to the bottom of the chasm 
the sides of the rock sank down abrupt, smooth, 
and sheer. I retraced my steps with some diffi- 
culty. Now I have told you all." 
" You will descend again V 
" I ought, yet I feel as if I durst not." 
" A trusty companion halves the journey and 
doubles the courage. I will go with you. "We will 
provide ourselves with ropes of suitable length 
and strength — and — pardon me — you must not 
drink more to-night. Our hands and feet must 
be steady and firm to-morrow." 


With the morning my friend's nerves were re- 
braced, and he was not less excited by curiosity 
than myself. Perhaps more ; for he evidently be- 
lieved in his own story, and I felt considerable 
doubt of it : not that he would have wilfully told 
an untruth, but that I thought he must have 
been under one of those hallucinations which 
seize on our fancy or our nerves in solitary, un- 
accustomed places, and in which we give shape 
to the formless and sound to the dumb. 

"We selected six veteran miners to watch our 
descent ; and as the cage held only one at a time, 
the engineer descended first ; and when he had 
gained the ledge at which he had before halted, 
the cage re-arose for me. I soon gained his side. 
We had provided ourselves with a strong coil of 


The light struck on my sight as it had done 
the day before on my friend's. The hollow 
through which it came sloped diagonally : it 
seemed to me a diffused atmospheric light, not 
like that from fire, but soft and silvery, as from a 
northern star. Quitting the cage, we descended, 
one after the other, easily enough, owing to the 
juts in the side, till we reached the place at 
which my friend had previously halted, and 
which was a projection just spacious enough to 
allow us to stand abreast. From this spot the 
chasm widened rapidly like the lower end of 
a vast funnel, and I saw distinctly the valley, 
the road, the lamps which my companion had 
described. He had exaggerated nothing. I 
heard the sounds he had heard — a mingled inde- 
scribable hum as of voices and a dull tramp 
as of feet. Straining my eye farther down, I 
clearly beheld at a distance the outline of some 
large building. It could not be mere natural 
rock, it was too symmetrical, with huge heavy 
Egyptian-like columns, and the whole lighted as 
from within. I had about me a small pocket- 
telescope, and by the aid of this I could distin- 


guish, near the building I mention, two forms 
which seemed human, though I could not be 
sure. At least they were living, for they moved, 
and both vanished within the building. We 
now proceeded to attach the end of the rope we 
had brought with us to the ledge on which we 
stood, by the aid of clamps and grappling-hooks, 
with which, as well as with necessary tools, we 
were provided. 

We were almost silent in our work. We toiled 
like men afraid to speak to each other. One end 
of the rope being thus apparently made firm to 
the ledge, the other, to which we fastened a frag- 
ment of the rock, rested on the ground below, a 
distance of some fifty feet. I was a younger 
and a more active man than my companion, and 
having served on board ship in my boyhood, this 
mode of transit was more familiar to me than to 
him. In a whisper I claimed the precedence, so 
that when I gained the ground I might serve to 
hold the rope more steady for his descent. I 
got safely to the ground beneath, and the en- 
gineer now began to lower himself. But he had 
scarcely accomplished ten feet of the descent, 


when the fastenings, which we had fancied so 
secure, gave way, or rather the rock itself proved 
treacherous and crumbled beneath the strain; 
and the unhappy man was precipitated to tlie 
bottom, falling just at my feet, and bringing 
down with his fall splinters of the rock, one of 
which, fortunately but a small one, struck and 
for the time stunned me. When I recovered my 
senses I saw my companion an inanimate mass 
beside me, life utterly extinct. While I was 
bending over his corpse in grief and horror, I 
heard close at hand a strange sound between a 
snort and a hiss ; and turning instinctively to the 
quarter from which it came, I saw emerging from 
a dark fissure in the rock a vast and terrible 
head, with open jaws and dull, ghastly, hungry 
eyes — the head of a monstrous reptile resembling 
that of the crocodile or alligator, but infinitely 
larger than the largest creature of that kind I 
had ever beheld in my travels. I started to my 
feet and fled down the valley at my utmost 
speed. I stopped at last, ashamed of my panic 
and my flight, and returned to the spot on which 
I had left the body of my friend. It was gone ; 


doubtless the monster had already drawn it into 
its den and devoured it. The rope and the 
grappling-hooks still lay where they had fallen, 
but they afforded me no chance of return : it 
was impossible to re-attach them to the rock 
above, and the sides of the rock were too sheer 
and smooth for human steps to clamber. I was 
alone in this strange world, amidst the bowels of 
the earth. 



Slowly and cautiously I went my solitary way 
down the lamplit road and towards the large 
building I have described. The road itself 
seemed like a great Alpine pass, skirting rocky 
mountains of which the one through whose 
chasms I had descended formed a link. Deep 
below to the left lay a vast valley, which pre- 
sented to my astonished eye the unmistakable 
evidences of art and culture. There were fields 
covered with a strange vegetation, similar to 
none I have seen above the earth ; the colour of 
it not green, but rather of a dull leaden hue or 
of a golden red. 

There were lakes and rivulets which seemed 
to have been curbed into artificial banks ; some 
of pure water, others that shone like pools of 
naphtha. At my right hand, ravines and defiles 


opened amidst the rocks, with passes between, 
evidently constructed by art, and bordered by 
trees resembling, for the most part, gigantic 
ferns, with exquisite varieties of feathery foliage, 
and stems like those of the palm-tree. Others 
were more like the cane-plant, but taller, bearing 
large clusters of flowers. Others, again, had the 
form of enormous fungi, with short thick stems 
supporting a wide dome-like roof, from which 
either rose or drooped long slender branches. 
The whole scene behind, before, and beside me, 
far as the eye could reach, was brilliant with 
innumerable lamps. The world without a sun 
was bright and warm as an Italian landscape at 
noon, but the air less oppressive, the heat softer. 
Nor was the scene before me void of signs of 
habitation. I could distinguish at a distance, 
whether on the banks of lake or rivulet, or half- 
way upon eminences, embedded amidst the 
vegetation, buildings that must surely be the 
homes of men. I could even discover, though 
far off, forms that appeared to me human 
moving amidst the landscape. As I paused to 
gaze, I saw to the right, gliding quickly through 


the air, what appeared a small boat, impelled by 
sails shaped like wings. It soon passed out of 
sight, descending amidst the shades of a forest. 
Right above me there was no sky, but only a 
cavernous roof. This roof grew higher and 
higher at the distance of the landscapes beyond, 
till it became imperceptible, as an atmosphere of 
haze formed itself beneath. 

Continuing my walk, I started, — from a bush 
that resembled a great tangle of sea-weeds, in- 
terspersed with fern-like shrubs and plants of 
large leafage shaped like that of the aloe or 
prickly pear, — a curious animal about the size and 
shape of a deer. But as, after bounding away 
a few paces, it turned round and gazed at me 
inquisitively, I perceived that it was not like 
any species of deer now extant above the earth, 
but it brought instantly to my recollection a 
plaster cast I had seen in some museum of a 
variety of the elk stag, said to have existed 
before the Deluge. The creature seemed tame 
enough, and, after inspecting me a moment or 
two, began to graze on the singular herbage 
around undismayed and careless. 



I now came in full sight of the building. Yes, 
it had been made by hands, and hollowed partly 
out of a great rock. I should have supposed it 
at the first glance to have been of the earliest 
form of Egyptian architecture. It was fronted 
by huge columns, tapering upward from massive 
plinths, and with capitals that, as I came nearer, 
I perceived to be more ornamental and more 
fantastically graceful than Egyptian architecture 
allows. As the Corinthian capital mimics the 
leaf of the acanthus, so the capitals of these 
columns imitated the foliage of the vegetation 
neighbouring them, some aloe-like, some fern-like. 
And now there came out of this building a form 
— human ; — was it human % It stood on the 
broad way and looked around, beheld me and 
approached. It came within a few yards of me, 


and at the sight and presence of it an indescrib- 
able awe and tremor seized me, rooting my feet 
to the ground. It reminded me of symbolical 

images of Genius or Demon that are seen on 

Etruscan vases or limned on the walls of Eastern 
sepulchres — images that borrow the outlines of 
man, and are yet of another race. It was tall, 
not gigantic, but tall as the tallest men below 
the height of giants. 

Its chief covering seemed to me to be com- 
posed of large wings folded over its breast and 
reaching to its knees ; the rest of its attire was 
composed of an under tunic and leggings of some 
thin fibrous material. It wore on its head a kind 
of tiara that shone with j ewels, and carried in its 
right hand a slender staff of bright metal like 
polished steel. But the face ! it was that which 
inspired my awe and my terror. It was the face 
of man, but yet of a type of man distinct from 
our known extant races. The nearest approach 
to it in outline and expression is the face of 
the sculptured sphinx — so regular in its calm, 
intellectual, mysterious beauty. Its colour was 
peculiar, more like that of the red man than any 


other variety of our species, and yet different 
from it — a richer and a softer hue, with large 
black eyes, deep and brilliant, and brows arched 
as a semicircle. The face was beardless; but 
a nameless something in the aspect, tranquil 
though the expression, and beauteous though 
the features, roused that instinct of clanger 
which the sight of a tiger or serpent arouses. 
I felt that this manlike image was endowed 
with forces inimical to man. As it drew near, 
a cold shudder came over me. I fell on my 
knees and covered my face with my hands. 


A voice accosted me — a very quiet and very 
musical key of voice — in a language of which 
I could not understand a word, but it served to 
dispel my fear. I uncovered my face and looked 
up. The stranger (I could scarcely bring myself 
to call him man) surveyed me with an eye that 
seemed to read to the very depths of my heart. 
He then placed his left hand on my forehead, 
and with the staff in his right gently touched 
my shoulder. The eifect of this double contact 
was magical. In place of my former terror there 
passed into me a sense of contentment, of joy, of 
confidence in myself and in the being before me. 
I rose and spoke in my own language. He list- 
ened to me with apparent attention, but with a 
slight surprise in his looks ; and shook his head, 
as if to signify that I was not understood. He 


then took me by the hand and led me in silence 
to the building. The entrance was open — indeed 
there was no door to it. We entered an immense 
hall, lighted by the same kind of lustre as in the 
scene without, but diffusing a fragrant odour. 
The floor was in large tesselated blocks of pre- 
cious metals, and partly covered with a sort of 
matlike carpeting. A strain of low music, above 
and around, undulated as if from invisible instru- 
ments, seeming to belong naturally to the place, 
just as the sound of murmuring waters belongs 
to a rocky landscape, or the warble of birds to 
vernal groves. 

A figure, in a simpler garb than that of my 
guide, but of similar fashion, was standing mo- 
tionless near the threshold. My guide touched 
it twice with his staff, and it put itself into a 
rapid and gliding movement, skimming noise- 
lessly over the floor. Gazing on it, I then saw 
that it was no living form, but a mechanical 
automaton. It might be two minutes after it 
vanished through a doorless opening, half screened 
by curtains at the other end of the hall, when 
through the same opening advanced a boy of 


about twelve years old, with features closely 
resembling those of my guide, so that they 
seemed to me evidently son and father. On see- 
ing me the child uttered a cry, and lifted a staff 
like that borne by my guide, as if in menace. 
At a word from the elder he dropped it. The 
two then conversed for some moments, examin- 
ing me while they spoke. The child touched 
my garments, and stroked my face with evident 
curiosity, uttering a sound like a laugh, but 
with an hilarity more subdued than the mirth of 
our laughter. Presently the roof of the hall 
opened, and a platform descended, seemingly 
constructed on the same principle as the ' lifts ' 
used in hotels and warehouses for mounting from 
one story to another. 

The stranger placed himself and the child on 
the platform, and motioned to me to do the same, 
which I did. We ascended quickly and safely, 
and alighted in the midst of a corridor with 
doorways on either side. 

Through one of these doorways I was con- 
ducted into a chamber fitted up with an Oriental 
splendour ; the walls were tesselated with spars, 


and metals, and uncut jewels ; cushions and 
divans abounded ; apertures as for windows, but 
unglazed, were made in the chamber, opening to 
the floor ; and as I passed along I observed that 
these openings led into spacious balconies, and 
commanded views of the illumined landscape 
without. In cages suspended from the ceiling 
there were birds of strange form and bright 
plumage, which at our entrance set up a chorus 
of song, modulated into tune as is that of our 
piping bullfinches. A delicious fragrance, from 
censers of gold elaborately sculptured, filled the 
air. Several automata, like the one I had seen, 
stood dumb and motionless by the walls. The 
stranger placed me beside him on a divan, and 
again spoke to me, and again I spoke, but with- 
out the least advance towards understanding each 

But now I began to feel the effects of the blow 
I had received from the splinters of the falling 
rock more acutely than I had done at first. 

There came over me a sense of sickly faintness, 
accompanied with acute, lancinating pains in the 
head and neck. I sank back on the seat, and 


strove in vain to stifle a groan. On this the 
child, who had hitherto seemed to eye me with 
distrust or dislike, knelt by my side to support 
me ; taking one of my hands in both his own, he 
approached his lips to my forehead, breathing on 
it softly. In a few moments my pain ceased ; a 
drowsy, happy calm crept over me ; I fell asleep. 
How loner I remained in this state I know not, 
but when I woke I felt perfectly restored. My 
eyes opened upon a group of silent forms, seated 
around me in the gravity and quietude of Orien- 
tals — all more or less like the first stranger ; 
the same mantling wings, the same fashion of 
garment, the same sphinx-like faces, with the 
deep dark eyes and red man's colour ; above all, 
the same type of race — race akin to man's, but 
infinitely stronger of form and grander of aspect, 
and inspiring the same unutterable feeling of 
dread. Yet each countenance was mild and 
tranquil, and even kindly in its expression. And, 
strangely enough, it seemed to me that in this 
very calm and benignity consisted the secret of 
the dread which the countenances inspired. They 
seemed as void of the lines and shadows which 


care and sorrow, and passion and sin, leave upon 
the faces of men, as are the faces of sculptured 
gods, or as, in the eyes of Christian mourners, 
seem the peaceful brows of the dead. 

I felt a warm hand on my shoulder ; it was 
the child's. In his eyes there was a sort of lofty 
pity and tenderness, such as that with which we 
may gaze on some suffering bird or butterfly. I 
shrank from that touch — I shrank from that eye. 
I was vaguely impressed with a belief that, had 
he so pleased, that child could have killed me as 
easily as a man can kill a bird or a butterfly. 
The child seemed pained at my repugnance, 
quitted me, and placed himself beside one of the 
windows. The others continued to converse with 
each other in a low tone, and by their glances 
towards me I could perceive that I was the 
object of their conversation. One in especial 
seemed to be urging some proposal affecting me 
on the being whom I had first met, and this last 
by his gesture seemed about to assent to it, 
when the child suddenly quitted his post by the 
window, placed himself between me and the 
other forms, as if in protection, and spoke quickly 


and eagerly. By some intuition or instinct I 
felt that the child I had before so dreaded was 
pleading in my behalf. Ere he had ceased 
another stranger entered the room. He appeared 
older than the rest, though not old ; his counte- 
nance, less smoothly serene than theirs, though 
equally regular in its features, seemed to me to 
have more the touch of a humanity akin to my 
own. He listened quietly to the words ad- 
dressed to him, first by my guide, next by two 
others of the group, and lastly by the child ; 
then turned towards myself, and addressed me, 
not by words, but by signs and gestures. These 
I fancied that I perfectly understood, and I was 
not mistaken. I comprehended that he inquired 
whence I came. I extended my arm and pointed 
towards the road which had led me from the 
chasm in the rock ; then an idea seized me. I 
drew forth my pocket-book and sketched on 
one of its blank leaves a rough design of the 
ledge of the rock, the rope, myself clinging to 
it ; then of the cavernous rock below, the 
head of the reptile, the lifeless form of my 
friend. I gave this primitive kind of hieroglyph 


to my interrogator, who, after inspecting it 
gravely, handed it to his next neighbour, and 
it thus passed round the group. The being I 
had at first encountered then said a few words, 
and the child, who approached and looked at my 
drawing, nodded as if he comprehended its pur- 
port, and, returning to the window, expanded the 
wings attached to his form, shook them once or 
twice, and then launched himself into space with- 
out. I started up in amaze and hastened to the 
window. The child was already in the air, 
buoyed on his wings, which he did not flap to 
and fro as a bird does, but which were elevated 
over his head, and seemed to bear him steadily 
aloft without effort of his own. His flight 
seemed as swift as any eagle's ; and I observed 
that it was towards the rock whence I had de- 
scended, of which the outline loomed visible in 
the brilliant atmosphere. In a very few min- 
utes he returned, skimming through the opening 
from which he had gone, and dropping on the 
floor the rope and grappling-hooks I had left at 
the descent from the chasm. Some words in 
a low tone passed between the beings present: 


one of the group touched an automaton, which 
started forward and glided from the room ; then 
the last comer, who had addressed me by gestures, 
rose, took me by the hand, and led me into the 
corridor. There the platform by which I had 
mounted awaited us; we placed ourselves on 
it and were lowered into the hall below. My 
new companion, still holding me by the hand, 
conducted me from the building into a street 
(so to speak) that stretched beyond it, with 
buildings on either side, separated from each 
other by gardens bright with rich-coloured vege- 
tation and strange flowers. Interspersed amidst 
these gardens, which were divided from each 
other by low walls, or walking slowly along the 
road, were many forms similar to those I had 
already seen. Some of the passers-by, on ob- 
serving me, approached my guide, evidently by 
their tones, looks, and gestures addressing to 
him inquiries about myself. In a few moments 
a crowd collected round us, examining me with 
great interest, as if I were some rare wild animal. 
Yet even in gratifying their curiosity they pre- 
served a grave and courteous demeanour ; and 


after a few words from my guide, who seemed to 
me to deprecate obstruction in our road, they 
fell back with a stately inclination of head, and 
resumed their own way with tranquil indiffer- 
ence. Midway in this thoroughfare we stopped 
at a building that differed from those we had 
hitherto passed, inasmuch as it formed three 
sides of a vast court, at the angles of which 
were lofty pyramidal towers ; in the open space 
between the sides was a circular fountain of 
colossal dimensions, and throwing up a dazzling 
spray of what seemed to me fire. We entered 
the building through an open doorway and came 
into an enormous hall, in which were several 
groups of children, all apparently employed in 
work as at some great factory. There was a 
huge engine in the wall which was in full play, 
with wheels and cylinders resembling our own 
steam-engines, except that it was richly orna- 
mented with precious stones and metals, and 
appeared to emanate a pale phosphorescent at- 
mosphere of shifting light. Many of the children 
were at some mysterious work on this machinery, 
others were seated before tables. I was not 


allowed to linger long enough to examine into 
the nature of their employment. Not one young 
voice was heard — not one young face turned to 
gaze on us. They were all still and indifferent 
as may be ghosts, through the midst of which 
pass unnoticed the forms of the living. 

Quitting this hall, my guide led me through a 
gallery richly painted in compartments, with a 
barbaric mixture of gold in the colours, like pic- 
tures by Louis Cranach. The subjects described 
on these walls appeared to my glance as intended 
to illustrate events in the history of the race 
amidst which I was admitted. In all there were 
figures, most of them like the manlike creatures 
I had seen, but not all in the same fashion of 
garb, nor all with wings. There were also the 
effigies of various animals and birds wholly 
strange to me, with backgrounds depicting land- 
scapes or buildings. So far as my imperfect 
knowledge of the pictorial art would allow me 
to form an opinion, these paintings seemed very 
accurate in design and very rich in colouring, 
showing a perfect knowledge of perspective, but 
their details not arranged according to the rules 


of composition acknowledged by our artists — 
wanting, as it were, a centre ; so that the effect 
was vague, scattered, confused, bewildering — 
they were like heterogeneous fragments of a 
dream of art. 

We now came into a room of moderate size, in 
which was assembled what I afterwards knew 
to be the family of my guide, seated at a table 
spread as for repast. The forms thus grouped 
were those of my guide's wife, his daughter, and 
two sons. I recognised at once the difference 
between the two sexes, though the two females 
were of taller stature and ampler proportions 
than the males ; and their countenances, if still 
more symmetrical in outline and contour, were 
devoid of the softness and timidity of expres- 
sion which give charm to the face of woman 
as seen on the earth above. The wife wore no 
wings, the daughter wore wings longer than 
those of the males. 

My guide uttered a few words, on which all 
the persons seated rose, and with that peculiar 
mildness of look and manner which I have before 
noticed, and which is, in truth, the common 


attribute of this formidable race, they saluted me 
according to their fashion, which consists in lay- 
ing the right hand very gently on the head and 
uttering a soft sibilant monosyllable — S.Si, equi- 
valent to " Welcome." 

The mistress of the house then seated me be- 
side her, and heaped a golden platter before me 
from one of the dishes. 

"While I ate (and though the viands were new 
to me, I marvelled more at the delicacy than the 
strangeness of their flavour), my companions con- 
versed quietly, and, so far as I could detect, with 
polite avoidance of any direct reference to myself, 
or any obtrusive scrutiny of my appearance. Yet 
I was the first creature of that variety of the 
human race to which I belong that they had ever 
beheld, and was consequently regarded by them 
as a most curious and abnormal phenomenon. 
But all rudeness is unknown to this people, and 
the youngest child is taught to despise any 
vehement emotional demonstration. When the 
meal was ended, my guide again took me by the 
hand, and, re-entering the gallery, touched a 
metallic plate inscribed with strange figures, and 


which I rightly conjectured to be of the nature 
of our telegraphs. A platform descended, but 
this time we mounted to a much greater height 
than in the former building, and found ourselves 
in a room of moderate dimensions, and which in 
its general character had much that might be 
familiar to the associations of a visitor from the 
upper world. There were shelves on the wall 
containing what appeared to be books, and indeed 
were so; mostly very small, like our diamond 
duodecimos, shaped in the fashion of our volumes, 
and bound in fine sheets of metal. There were 
several curious - looking pieces of mechanism 
scattered about, apparently models, such as might 
be seen in the study of any professional me- 
chanician. Four automata (mechanical contriv- 
ances which, with these people, answer the ordin- 
ary purposes of domestic service) stood phantom- 
like at each angle in the wall. In a recess was 
a low couch, or bed with pillows. A 'window, 
with curtains of some fibrous material drawn 
aside, opened upon a large balcony. My host 
stepped out into the balcony ; I followed him. 
We were on the uppermost story of one of the 


angular pyramids ; the view beyond was of a 
wild and solemn beauty impossible to describe, — 
the vast ranges of precipitous rock which formed 
the distant background, the intermediate valleys 
of mystic many-coloured herbage, the flash of 
waters, many of them like streams of roseate 
flame, the serene lustre diffused over all by 
myriads of lamps, combined to form a whole of 
which no words of mine can convey adequate 
description ; so splendid was it, yet so sombre ; 
so lovely, yet so awful. 

But my attention was soon diverted from these 
nether landscapes. Suddenly there arose, as from 
the streets below, a burst of joyous music ; then 
a winged form soared into the space ; another, as 
in chase of the first, another and another; others 
after others, till the crowd grew thick and the 
number countless. But how describe the fan- 
tastic grace of these forms in their undulating 
movements ! They appeared engaged in some 
sport or amusement ; now forming into opposite 
squadrons ; now scattering ; now each group 
threading the other, soaring, descending, inter- 
weaving, severing ; all in measured time to the 


music below, as if in the dance of the fabled 

I turned my gaze on my host in a feverish 
wonder. I ventured to place my hand on the 
large wings that lay folded on his breast, and 
in doing so a slight shock as of electricity passed 
through me. I recoiled in fear ; my host smiled, 
and, as if courteously to gratify my curiosity, 
slowly expanded his pinions. I observed that 
his garment beneath then became dilated as a 
bladder that fills with air. The arms seemed to 
slide into the wings, and in another moment 
he had launched himself into the luminous 
atmosphere, and hovered there, still, and with 
outspread wings, as an eagle that basks in the 
sun. Then, rapidly as an eagle swoops, he rushed 
downwards into the midst of one of the groups, 
skimming through the midst, and as suddenly 
again soaring aloft. Thereon, three forms, in 
one of which I thought to recognise my host's 
daughter, detached themselves from the rest, 
and followed him as a bird sportively follows 
a bird. My eyes, dazzled with the lights and 
bewildered by the throngs, ceased to distinguish 



the gyrations and evolutions of these winged 
playmates, till presently my host re-emerged 
from the crowd and alighted at my side. 

The strangeness of all I had seen began now to 
operate fast on my senses ; my mind itself began 
to wander. Though not inclined to be super- 
stitious, nor hitherto believing that man could be 
brought into bodily communication with demons, 
I felt the terror and the wild excitement with 
which, in the Gothic ages, a traveller might 
have persuaded himself that he witnessed a 
sabbat of fiends and witches. I have a vague 
recollection of having attempted with vehement 
gesticulation, and forms of exorcism, and loud 
incoherent words, to repel my courteous and 
indulgent host ; of his mild endeavours to calm 
and soothe me ; of his intelligent conjecture that 
my fright and bewilderment were occasioned by 
the difference of form and movement between us 
which the wings that had excited my marvelling 
curiosity had, in exercise, made still more strongly 
perceptible ; of the gentle smile with which he 
had sought to dispel my alarm by dropping the 
wings to the ground and endeavouring to show 


me that they were but a mechanical contrivance. 
That sudden transformation did but increase my 
horror, and as extreme fright often shows itself 
by extreme daring, I sprang at his throat like a 
wild beast. On an instant I was felled to the 
ground as by an electric shock, and the last con- 
fused images floating before my sight ere I 
became wholly insensible, were the form of my 
host kneeling beside me with one hand on my 
forehead, and the beautiful calm face of his 
daughter, with large, deep, inscrutable eyes in- 
tently fixed upon my own. 



I remained in tins unconscious state, as I after- 
wards learned, for many days, even for some 
weeks, according to our computation of time. 
When I recovered I was in a strange room, my 
host and all his family were gathered round 
me, and to my utter amaze my host's daughter 
accosted me in my own language with but a 
slightly foreign accent. 

" How do you feel 1 " she asked 
It was some moments before I could overcome 
my surprise enough to falter out, "You know 
my language ? How 1 Who and what are you ? " 
My host smiled and motioned to one of his 
sons, who then took from a table a number of 
thin metallic sheets on which were traced 
drawings of various figures — a house, a tree, a 
bird, a man, &c. 


In these designs I recognised my own style of 
drawing. Under each figure was written the 
name of it in my language, and in my writing ; 
and in another handwriting a word strange to 
me beneath it. 

Said the host, " Thus we began ; and my 
daughter Zee, who belongs to the College of 
Sages, has been your instructress and ours too." 

Zee then placed before me other metallic 
sheets, on which, in my writing, words first, 
and then sentences, were inscribed. Under each 
word and each sentence strange characters in 
another hand. Rallying my senses, I compre- 
hended that thus a rude dictionary had been 
effected. Had it been done while I was dream- 
ing % " That is enough now," said Zee, in a tone 
of command. " Repose and take food." 



A room to myself was assigned to me in this vast 
edifice. It was prettily and fantastically ar- 
ranged, but without any of the splendour of metal- 
work or gems which was displayed in the more 
public apartments. The walls were hung with a 
variegated matting made from the stalks and 
fibres of plants, and the floor carpeted with the 

The bed was without curtains, its supports of 
iron resting on balls of crystal ; the coverings, of 
a thin white substance resembling cotton. There 
were sundry shelves containing books. A cur- 
tained recess communicated with an aviary filled 
with singing-birds, of which I did not recognise 
one resembling those I have seen on earth, except 
a beautiful species of dove, though this was dis- 
tinguished from our doves by a tall crest of bluish 


plumes. All these birds had been trained to sing 
in artful tunes, and greatly exceeded the skill of 
our piping bullfinches, which can rarely achieve 
more than two tunes, and cannot, I believe, sing 
those in concert. One might have supposed one's 
self at an opera in listening to the voices in my 
aviary. There were duets and trios, and quar- 
tettes and choruses, all arranged as in one piece of 
music. Did I want to silence the birds \ I had 
but to draw a curtain over the aviary, and their 
song hushed as they found themselves left in the 
dark. Another opening formed a window, not 
glazed, but on touching a spring, a shutter as- 
cended from the floor, formed of some substance 
less transparent than glass, but still sufficiently 
pellucid to allow a softened view of the scene 
without. To this window was attached a bal- 
cony, or rather hanging- garden, wherein grew 
many graceful plants and brilliant flowers. The 
apartment and its appurtenances had thus a 
character, if strange in detail, still familiar, as a 
whole, to modern notions of luxury, and would 
have excited admiration if found attached to the 
apartments of an English duchess or a fashionable 


French author. Before I arrived this was Zee's 
chamber; she had hospitably assigned it to 

Some hours after the waking up which is de- 
scribed in my last chapter, I was lying alone on 
my couch trying to fix my thoughts on conjec- 
ture as to the nature and genus of the people 
amongst whom I was thrown, when my host and 
his daughter Zee entered the room. My host, 
still speaking my native language, inquired, with 
much politeness, whether it would be agreeable 
to me to converse, or if I preferred solitude. I 
replied, that I should feel much honoured and 
obliged by the opportunity offered me to express 
my gratitude for the hospitality and civilities I 
had received in a country to which I was a 
stranger, and to learn enough of its customs and 
manners not to offend through ignorance. 

As I spoke, I had of course risen from my 
couch ; but Zee, much to my confusion, curtly 
ordered me to lie down again, and there was 
something in her voice and eye, gentle as both 
were, that compelled my obedience. She then 
seated herself unconcernedly at the foot of my 


bed, while her father took his place on a divan 
a few feet distant. 

" But what part of the world do you come 
from," asked my host, " that we should appear 
so strange to you, and you to us % I have seen 
individual specimens of nearly all the races differ- 
ing from our own, except the primeval savages 
who dwell in the most desolate and remote re- 
cesses of uncultivated nature, unacquainted with 
other light than that they obtain from volcanic 
fires, and contented to grope their way in the 
dark, as do many creeping, crawling, and even 
flying things. But certainly you cannot be a 
member of those barbarous tribes, nor, on the 
other hand, do you seem to belong to any civil- 
ised people." 

I was somewhat nettled at this last observation, 
and replied that I had the honour to belong to 
one of the most civilised nations of the earth ; 
and that, so far as light was concerned, while I 
admired the ingenuity and disregard of expense 
with which my host and his fellow-citizens had 
contrived to illumine the regions unpenetrated 
by the rays of the sun, yet I could not conceive 


how any who had once beheld the orbs of heaven 
could compare to their lustre the artificial lights 
invented by the necessities of man. But my 
host said he had seen specimens of most of the 
races differing from his own, save the wretched 
barbarians he had mentioned. Now, was it pos- 
sible that he had never been on the surface of 
the earth, or could he only be referring to com- 
munities buried within its entrails \ 

My host was for some moments silent ; his 
countenance showed a degree of surprise which the 
people of that race very rarely manifest under 
any circumstances, howsoever extraordinary. 
But Zee was more intelligent, and exclaimed, " So 
you see, my father, that there is truth in the old 
tradition ; there always is truth in every tradi- 
tion commonly believed in all times and by all 

" Zee," said my host, mildly, " you belong to 
the College of Sages, and ought to be wiser than 
I am ; but, as chief of the Light-preserving Coun- 
cil, it is my duty to take nothing for granted till 
it is proved to the evidence of my own senses." 
Then, turning to me, he asked me several ques- 


tions about the surface of the earth and the hea- 
venly bodies; upon which, though I answered 
him to the best of my knowledge, my answers 
seemed not to satisfy nor convince him. He shook 
his head quietly, and, changing the subject rather 
abruptly, asked how I had come down from what 
he was pleased to call one world to the other. I 
answered, that under the surface of the earth 
there were mines containing minerals, or metals, 
essential to our wants and our progress in all arts 
and industries ; and I then briefly explained the 
manner in which, while exploring one of these 
mines, I and my ill-fated friend had obtained a 
glimpse of the regions into which we had de- 
scended, and how the descent had cost him his 
life ; appealing to the rope and grappling-hooks 
that the child had brought to the house in 
which I had been at first received, as a witness 
of the truthfulness of my story. 

My host then proceeded to question me as to 
the habits and modes of life among the races on 
the upper earth, more especially among those con- 
sidered to be the most advanced in that civilisa- 
tion which he was pleased to define " the art of 


diffusing throughout a community the tranquil 
happiness which belongs to a virtuous and well- 
ordered household." Naturally desiring to repre- 
sent in the most favourable colours the world 
from which I came, I touched but slightly, though 
indulgently, on the antiquated and decaying 
institutions of Europe, in order to expatiate on the 
present grandeur and prospective pre-eminence of 
that glorious American Republic, in which Europe 
enviously seeks its model and tremblingly fore- 
sees its doom. Selecting for an example of the 
social life of the United States that city in which 
progress advances at the fastest rate, I indulged 
in an animated description of the moral habits of 
New York. Mortified to see, by the faces of my 
listeners, that I did not make the favourable im- 
pression I had anticipated, I elevated my theme ; 
dwelling on the excellence of democratic institu- 
tions, their promotion of tranquil happiness by 
the government of party, and the mode in which 
they diffused such happiness throughout the com- 
munity by preferring, for the exercise of power 
and the acquisition of honours, the lowliest citi- 
zens in point of property, education, and charac- 


ter. Fortunately recollecting the peroration of 
a speech, on the purifying influences of American 
democracy and their destined spread over the 
world, made by a certain eloquent senator (for 
whose vote in the Senate a Railway Company, 
to which my two brothers belonged, had just paid 
20,000 dollars), I wound up by repeating its 
glowing predictions of the magnificent future 
that smiled upon mankind — when the flag of 
freedom should float over an entire continent, 
and two hundred millions of intelligent citizens, 
accustomed from infancy to the daily use of 
revolvers, should apply to a cowering universe 
the doctrine of the Patriot Monroe. 

When I had concluded, my host gently shook 
his head, and fell into a musing study, making 
a sign to me and his daughter to remain silent 
while he reflected. And after a time he said, in 
a very earnest and solemn tone, "If you think, 
as you say, that you, though a stranger, have 
received kindness at the hands of me and mine, 
I adjure you to reveal nothing to any other of 
our people respecting the world from which you 
came, unless, on consideration, I give you per- 


mission to do so. Do you consent to this 
request % " 

" Of course I pledge my word to it," said I, 
somewhat amazed ; and I extended my right hand 
to grasp his. But he placed my hand gently 
on his forehead and his own right hand on my 
breast, which is the custom amongst this race 
in all matters of promise or verbal obligations. 
Then turning to his daughter, he said, " And 
you, Zee, will not repeat to any one what the 
stranger has said, or may say, to me or to you, 
of a world other than our own." Zee rose and 
kissed her father on the temples, saying, with 
a smile, " A Gy's tongue is wanton, but love 
can fetter it fast. And if, my father, you fear 
lest a chance word from me or yourself could 
expose our community to danger, by a desire to 
explore a world beyond us, will not a wave of the 
vril, properly impelled, wash even the memory 
of what we have heard the stranger say out of 
the tablets of the brain \ " 

" What is vril ? " I asked. 

Therewith Zee began to enter into an explana- 
tion of which I understood very little, for there is 


no word in any language I know which is an 
exact synonym for vril. I should call it electri- 
city, except that it comprehends in its manifold 
branches other forces of nature, to which, in our 
scientific nomenclature, differing names are as- 
signed, such as magnetism, galvanism, &c. These 
people consider that in vril they have arrived at 
the unity in natural energic agencies, which has 
been conjectured by many philosophers above 
ground, and which Faraday thus intimates under 
the more cautious term of correlation : — 

" I have long held an opinion," says that illus- 
trious experimentalist, " almost amounting to a 
conviction, in common, I believe, with many other 
lovers of natural knowledge, that the various 
forms under which the forces of matter are 
made manifest have one common origin ; or, in 
other words, are so directly related and mutually 
dependent, that they are convertible, as it were, 
into one another, and possess equivalents of power 
in their action." 

These subterranean philosophers assert that by 
one operation of vril, which Faraday would per- 
haps call ' atmospheric magnetism/ they can influ- 


ence the variations of temperature — in plain 
words, the weather ; that by other operations, 
akin to those ascribed to mesmerism, electro-bio- 
logy, odic force, &c, but applied scientifically 
through vril conductors, they can exercise influ- 
ence over minds, and bodies animal and vege- 
table, to an extent not surpassed in the romances 
of our mystics. To all such agencies they give 
the common name of vril. Zee asked me if, in 
my world, it was not known that all the faculties 
of the mind could be quickened to a degree un- 
known in the waking state, by trance or vision, 
in which the thoughts of one brain could be 
transmitted to another, and knowledge be thus 
rapidly interchanged. I replied, that there were 
amongst us stories told of such trance or vision, 
and that I had heard much and seen something 
of the mode in which they were artificially 
effected, as in mesmeric clairvoyance ; but that 
these practices had fallen much into disuse or 
contempt, partly because of the gross impostures 
to which they had been made subservient, and 
partly because, even where the effects upon cer- 
tain abnormal constitutions were genuinely pro- 


duced, the effects, when fairly examined and 
analysed, were very unsatisfactory — not to be 
relied upon for any systematic truthfulness or 
any practical purpose, and rendered very mis- 
chievous to credulous persons by the superstitions 
they tended to produce. Zee received my an- 
swers with much benignant attention, and said 
that similar instances of abuse and credulity had 
been familiar to their own scientific experience in 
the infancy of their knowledge, and while the 
properties of vril were misapprehended, but that 
she reserved further discussion on this subject 
till I was more fitted to enter into it. She con- 
tented herself with adding, that it was through 
the agency of vril, while I had been placed in 
the state of trance, that I had been made ac- 
quainted with the rudiments of their language; 
and that she and her father, who, alone of the 
family, took the pains to watch the experiment, 
had acquired a greater proportionate knowledge 
of my language than I of their own ; partly 
because my language was much simpler than 
theirs, comprising far less of complex ideas ; and 
partly because their organisation was, by heredit- 



ary culture, much more ductile and more readily 
capable of acquiring knowledge than mine. At 
this I secretly demurred ; and having had, in the 
course of a practical life, to sharpen my wits, 
whether at home or in travel, I could not allow 
that my cerebral organisation could possibly be 
duller than that of people who had lived all their 
lives by lamplight. However, while I was thus 
thinking, Zee quietly pointed her forefinger at 
my forehead and sent me to sleep. 



When I once more awoke I saw by my bedside 
the child who had brought the rope and grap- 
pling-hooks to the house in which I had been 
first received, and which, as I afterwards learned, 
was the residence of the chief magistrate of the 
tribe. The child, whose name was Tae (pro- 
nounced Tar-ee), was the magistrate's eldest 
son. I found that during my last sleep or trance 
I had made still greater advance in the language 
of the country, and could converse with compara- 
tive ease and fluency. 

This child was singularly handsome, even for 
the beautiful race to which he belonged, with a 
countenance very manly in aspect for his years, 
and with a more vivacious and energetic expres- 
sion than I had hitherto seen in the serene and 
passionless faces of the men. He brought me 


the tablet on which I had drawn the mode of my 
descent, and had also sketched the head of the hor- 
rible reptile that had scared me from my friend's 
corpse. Pointing to that part of the drawing, 
Tae put to me a few questions respecting the 
size and form of the monster, and the cave or 
chasm from which it had emerged. His interest 
in my answers seemed so grave as to divert him 
for a while from any curiosity as to myself or my 
antecedents. But to my great embarrassment, 
seeing how I was pledged to my host, he was 
just beginning to ask me where I came from, 
when Zee fortunately entered, and, overhearing 
him, said, " Tae, give to our guest any informa- 
tion he may desire, but ask none from him in 
return. To question him who he is, whence he 
comes, or wherefore he is here, would be a breach 
of the law which my father has laid down for 
this house." 

" So be it," said Tae, pressing his hand to his 
heart ; and from that moment, till the one in 
which I saw him last, this child, with whom I 
became very intimate, never once put to me any 
of the questions thus interdicted. 



It was not for some time, and until, by repeated 
trances, if they are so to be called, my mind 
became better prepared to interchange ideas with 
my entertainers, and more fully to comprehend 
differences of manners and customs, at first too 
strange to my experience to be seized by my 
reason, that I was enabled to gather the follow- 
ing details respecting the origin and history of 
this subterranean population, as portion of one 
great family race called the Ana. 

According to the earliest traditions, the remote 
progenitors of the race had once tenanted a world 
above the surface of that in which their descend- 
ants dwelt. Myths of that world were still pre- 
served in their archives, and in those myths were 
legends of a vaulted dome in which the lamps 
were lighted by no human hand. But such 


legends were considered by most commentators 
as allegorical fables. According to these tradi- 
tions the earth itself, at the date to which the 
traditions ascend, was not indeed in its infancy, 
but in the throes and travail of transition from 
oue form of development to another, and sub- 
ject to many violent revolutions of nature. By 
one of such revolutions, that portion of the 
upper world inhabited by the ancestors of this 
race had been subjected to inundations, not 
rapid, but gradual and uncontrollable, in which 
all, save a scanty remnant, were submerged and 
perished. Whether this be a record of our his- 
torical and sacred Deluge, or of some earlier one 
contended for by geologists, I do not pretend to 
conjecture ; though, according to the chronology 
of this people as compared with that of Newton, it 
must have been many thousands of years before 
the time of Noah. On the other hand, the account 
of these writers does not harmonise with the opin- 
ions most in vogue among geological authorities, 
inasmuch as it places the existence of a human 
race upon earth at dates long anterior to that 
assigned to the terrestrial formation adapted to 


the introduction of mammalia. A band of the 
ill-fated race, thus invaded by the Flood, had, 
during the march of the waters, taken refuge in 
caverns amidst the loftier rocks, and, wandering 
through these hollows, they lost sight of the 
upper world for ever. Indeed, the whole face of 
the earth had been changed by this great revul- 
sion ; land had been turned into sea — sea into 
land. In the bowels of the inner earth even 
now, I was informed as a positive fact, might be 
discovered the remains of human habitation — 
habitation not in huts and caverns, but in vast 
cities whose ruins attest the civilisation of races 
which flourished before the age of Noah, and are 
not to be classified with those genera to which 
philosophy ascribes the use of flint and the igno- 
rance of iron. 

The fugitives had carried with them the know- 
ledge of the arts they had practised above 
oround — arts of culture and civilisation. Their 
earliest want must have been that of supplying 
below the earth the light they had lost above it ; 
and at no time, even in the traditional period, do 
the races, of which the one I now sojourned with 


formed a tribe, seem to have been unacquainted 
with the art of extracting light from gases, or 
manganese, or petroleum. They had been accus- 
tomed in their former state to contend with the 
rude forces of nature ; and indeed the lengthened 
battle they had fought with their conqueror 
Ocean, which had taken centuries in its spread, 
had quickened their skill in curbing waters into 
dikes and channels. To this skill they owed their 
preservation in their new abode. "For many 
generations," said my host, with a sort of con- 
tempt and horror, "these primitive forefathers 
are said to have degraded their rank and short- 
ened their lives by eating the flesh of animals, 
many varieties of which had, like themselves, 
escaped the Deluge, and sought shelter in the 
hollows of the earth ; other animals, supposed to 
be unknown to the upper world, those hollows 
themselves produced." 

When what we should term the historical age 
emerged from the twilight of tradition, the Ana 
were already established in different communi- 
ties, and had attained to a degree of civilisation 
very analogous to that which the more advanced 


nations above the earth now enjoy. They were 
familiar with most of our mechanical inventions, 
including the application of steam as well as gas. 
The communities were in fierce competition with 
each other. They had their rich and their poor ; 
they had orators and conquerors ; they made 
war either for a domain or an idea. Though the 
various states acknowledged various forms of 
government, free institutions were beginning to 
preponderate ; popular assemblies increased in 
power ; republics soon became general ; the de- 
mocracy to which the most enlightened European 
politicians look forward as the extreme goal of 
political advancement, and which still prevailed 
among other subterranean races, whom they 
despised as barbarians, the loftier family of Ana, 
to which belonged the tribe I was visiting, 
looked back to as one of the crude and igno- 
rant experiments which belong to the infancy 
of political science. It was the age of envy and 
hate, of fierce passions, of constant social changes 
more or less violent, of strife between classes, of 
war between state and state. This phase of 
society lasted, however, for some ages, and was 


finally brought to a close, at least among the nobler 
and more intellectual populations, by the gradual 
discovery of the latent powers stored in the all- 
permeating fluid which they denominate Vril. 

According to the account I received from Zee, 
who, as an erudite professor in the College of 
Sages, had studied such matters more diligently 
than any other member of my host's family, this 
fluid is capable of being raised and disciplined 
into the mightiest agency over all forms of 
matter, animate or inanimate. It can destroy 
like the flash of lightning ; yet, differently applied, 
it can replenish or invigorate life, heal, and pre- 
serve, and on it they chiefly rely for the cure of 
disease, or rather for enabling the physical organi- 
sation to re-establish the due equilibrium of its 
natural powers, and thereby to cure itself. By 
this agency they rend way through the most 
solid substances, and open valleys for culture 
through the rocks of their subterranean wilder- 
ness. From it they extract the light which sup- 
plies their lamps, finding it steadier, softer, and 
healthier than the other inflammable materials 
they had formerly used. 


But the effects of the alleged discovery of the 
means to direct the more terrible force of vril 
were chiefly remarkable in their influence upon 
social polity. As these effects became famil- 
iarly known and skilfully administered, war be- 
tween the Vril - discoverers ceased, for they 
brought the art of destruction to such perfection 
as to annul all superiority in numbers, discipline, 
or military skill. The fire lodged in the hollow 
of a rod directed by the hand of a child could 
shatter the strongest fortress, or cleave its burn- 
ing way from the van to the rear of an embattled 
host. If army met army, and both had command 
of this agency, it could be but to the annihilation 
of each. The age of war was therefore gone, but 
with the cessation of war other effects bearing 
upon the social state soon became apparent. 
Man was so completely at the mercy of man, 
each whom he encountered being able, if so 
willing, to slay him on the instant, that all 
notions of government by force gradually van- 
ished from political systems and forms of law. 
It is only by force that vast communities, dis- 
persed through great distances of space, can be 


kept together ; but now there was no longer 
either the necessity of self-preservation or the 
pride of aggrandisement to make one state desire 
to preponderate in population over another. 

The Vril-discoverers thus, in the course of a 
few generations, peacefully split into communities 
of moderate size. The tribe amongst which I 
had fallen was limited to 12,000 families. Each 
tribe occupied a territory sufficient for all its 
wants, and at stated periods the surplus popula- 
tion departed to seek a realm of its own. There 
appeared no necessity for any arbitrary selection 
of these emigrants ; there was always a sufficient 
number who volunteered to depart. 

These subdivided states, petty if we regard 
either territory or population, — all appertained 
to one vast general family. They spoke the 
same language, though the dialects might 
slightly differ. They intermarried ; they main- 
tained the same general laws and customs ; 
and so important a bond between these several 
communities was the knowledge of vril and the 
practice of its agencies, that the word A- Vril was 
synonymous with civilisation ; and Vril-ya, signi- 


fying "The Civilised Nations," was the common 
name by which the communities employing the 
uses of vril distinguished themselves from such 
of the Ana as were yet in a state of barbarism. 

The government of the tribe of Vril-ya I am 
treating of was apparently very complicated, really 
very simple. It was based upon a principle re- 
cognised in theory, though little carried out in 
practice, above ground — viz., that the object of 
all systems of philosophical thought tends to the 
attainment of unity, or the ascent through all in- 
tervening labyrinths to the simplicity of a single 
first cause or principle. Thus in politics, even 
republican writers have agreed that a benevolent 
autocracy would insure the best administration, if 
there were any guarantees for its continuance, or 
against its gradual abuse of the powers accorded 
to it. This singular community elected therefore 
a single supreme magistrate styled Tur ; he held 
his office nominally for life, but he could seldom 
be induced to retain it after the first approach of 
old age. There was indeed in this society nothing 
to induce any of its members to covet the cares 
of office. No honours, no insignia of higher rank, 


were assigned to it. The supreme magistrate 
was not distinguished from the rest by superior 
habitation or revenue. On the other hand, the 
duties awarded to him were marvellously light 
and easy, requiring no preponderant degree of 
energy or intelligence. There being no appre- 
hensions of war, there were no armies to main- 
tain ; being no government of force, there was 
no police to appoint and direct. What we call 
crime was utterly unknown to the Vril-ya ; and 
there were no courts of criminal justice. The 
rare instances of civil disputes were referred 
for arbitration to friends chosen by either party, 
or decided by the Council of Sages, which 
will be described later. There were no pro- 
fessional lawyers ; and indeed their laws were 
but amicable conventions, for there was no power 
to enforce laws against an offender who carried 
in his staff the power to destroy his judges. 
There were customs and regulations to com- 
pliance with which, for several ages, the people 
had tacitly habituated themselves ; or if in any 
instance an individual felt such compliance hard, 
he quitted the community and went elsewhere. 


There was, in fact, quietly established amid this 
state, much the same compact that is found in 
our private families, in which we virtually say to 
any independent grown-up member of the family 
whom we receive and entertain, " Stay or go, 
according as our habits and regulations suit or 
displease you." But though there were no laws 
such as we call laws, no race above ground is so 
law-observing. Obedience to the rule adopted by 
the community has become as much an instinct 
as if it were implanted by nature. Even in every 
household the head of it makes a regulation for 
its guidance, which is never resisted nor even 
cavilled at by those who belong to the family. 
They have a proverb, the pithiness of which is 
much lost in this paraphrase, " No happiness 
without order, no order without authority, no 
authority without unity." The mildness of all 
government among them, civil or domestic, 
may be signalised by their idiomatic expressions 
for such terms as illegal or forbidden — viz., " It 
is requested not to do so-and-so." Poverty 
among the Ana is as unknown as crime ; not that 
property is held in common, or that all are equals 


in the extent of their possessions or the size and 
luxury of their habitations : but there being no 
difference of rank or position between the grades 
of wealth or the choice of occupations, each pur- 
sues his own inclinations without creating envy 
or vying ; some like a modest, some a more 
splendid kind of life ; each makes himself happy 
in his own way. Owing to this absence of com- 
petition, and the limit placed on the population, 
it is difficult for a family to fall into distress ; 
there are no hazardous speculations, no emulators 
striving for superior wealth and rank. No doubt, 
in each settlement all originally had the same 
proportions of land dealt out to them ; but 
some, more adventurous than others, had ex- 
tended their possessions farther into the border- 
ing wilds, or had improved into richer fertility 
the produce of their fields, or entered into 
commerce or trade. Thus, necessarily, some 
had grown richer than others, but none had 
become absolutely poor, or wanting anything 
which their tastes desired. If they did so, 
it was always in their power to migrate, or at 
the worst to apply, without shame and with 


certainty of aid, to the rich ; for all the mem- 
bers of the community considered themselves as 
brothers of one affectionate and united family. 
More upon this head will be treated of inciden- 
tally as my narrative proceeds. 

The chief care of the supreme magistrate was 
to communicate with certain active departments 
charged with the administration of special de- 
tails. The most important and essential of such 
details was that connected with the due provision 
of light. Of this department my host, Aph-Lin, 
was the chief. Another department, which might 
be called the foreign, communicated with the 
neighbouring kindred states, principally for the 
purpose of ascertaining all new inventions ; and 
to a third department, all such inventions and 
improvements in machinery were committed for 
trial. Connected with this department was the 
College of Sages — a college especially favoured by 
such of the Ana as were widowed and childless, 
and by the young unmarried females, amongst 
whom Zee was the most active, and, if what we 
call renown or distinction was a thing acknow- 
ledged by this people (which I shall later show 


it is not), among the most renowned or distin- 
guished. It is by the female Professors of this 
f'olWe that those studies which are deemed of 
least use in practical life — as purely speculative 
philosophy, the history of remote periods, and 
such sciences as entomology, conchology, &c. — are 
the more diligently cultivated. Zee, whose mind, 
active as Aristotle's, equally embraced the largest 
domains and the minutest details of thought, had 
written two volumes on the parasite insect that 
dwells amid the hairs of a tiger's"' paw, which 
work was considered the best authority on that 
interesting subject. But the researches of the 
sages are not confined to such subtle or elegant 
studies. They comprise various others more im- 
portant, and especially the properties of vril, to 

* The animal here referred to has many points of difference 
from the tiger of the upper world. It is larger, and with a broader 
paw, and still more receding frontal. It haunts the sides of lakes 
and pools, and feeds principally on fishes, though it does not ob- 
ject to any terrestrial animal of inferior strength that comes in its 
way. It is becoming very scarce even in the wild districts, where 
it is devoured by gigantic reptiles. I apprehend that it clearly 
belongs to the tiger species, since the parasite animalcule found 
in its paw, like that found in the Asiatic tiger's, is a miniature 
image of itself. 


the perception of which their finer nervous organ- 
isation renders the female Professors eminently 
keen. It is out of this college that the Tur, or 
chief magistrate, selects Councillors, limited to 
three, in the rare instances in which novelty of 
event or circumstance perplexes his own judgment. 
There are a few other departments of minor 
consequence, but all are carried on so noiselessly 
and quietly that the evidence of a government 
seems to vanish altogether, and social order to 
be as regular and unobtrusive as if it were a law 
of nature. Machinery is employed to an incon- 
ceivable extent in all the operations of labour 
within and without doors, and it is the unceasing- 
object of the department charged with its admin- 
istration to extend its efficiency. There is no class 
of labourers or servants, but all who are required 
to assist or control the machinery are found in 
the children, from the time they leave the care 
of their mothers to the marriageable ao;e, which 
they place at sixteen for the Gy-ei (the females), 
twenty for the Ana (the males). These children 
are formed into bands and sections under their 
own chiefs, each following the pursuits in which 


he is most pleased, or for which he feels himself 
most fitted. Some take to handicrafts, some to 
agriculture, some to household work, and some 
to the only services of danger to which the popu- 
lation is exposed; for the sole perils that threaten 
this tribe are, first, from those occasional convul- 
sions within the earth, to foresee and guard 
against which tasks their utmost ingenuity — ir- 
ruptions of fire and water, the storms of subter- 
ranean winds and escaping gases. At the borders 
of the domain, and at all places where such 
peril might be apprehended, vigilant inspectors 
are stationed with telegraphic communication to 
the hall in which chosen sages take it by turns 
to hold perpetual sittings. These inspectors are 
always selected from the elder boys approaching 
the age of puberty, and on the principle that at 
that age observation is more acute and the phy- 
sical forces more alert than at any other. The 
second service of danger, less grave, is in the de- 
struction of all creatures hostile to the life, or the 
culture, or even the comfort, of the Ana. Of 
these the most formidable are the vast reptiles, 
of some of which antediluvian relics are preserved 


in our museums, and certain gigantic winged 
creatures, half bird, half reptile. These, together 
with lesser wild animals, corresponding to our 
tigers or venomous serpents, it is left to the 
younger children to hunt and destroy ; because, 
according to the Ana, here ruthlessness is wanted, 
and the younger a child the more ruthlessly he 
will destroy. There is another class of animals 
in the destruction of which discrimination is to 
be used, and against which children of interme- 
diate age are appointed — animals that do not 
threaten the life of man, but ravage the produce 
of his labour, varieties of the elk and deer species, 
and a smaller creature much akin to our rabbit, 
though infinitely more destructive to crops, 
and much more cunning in its mode of depreda- 
tion. It is the first object of these appointed 
infants, to tame the more intelligent of such ani- 
mals into respect for enclosures signalised by 
conspicuous landmarks, as dogs are taught to 
respect a larder, or even to guard the master's 
property. It is only where such creatures are 
found untamable to this extent that they are 
destroyed. Life is never taken away for food 


or for sport, and never spared where untam- 
ably inimical to the Ana. Concomitantly with 
these bodily services and tasks, the mental 
education of the children goes on till boyhood 
ceases. It is the general custom, then, to pass 
through a course of instruction at the College of 
Sages, in which, besides more general studies, the 
pupil receives special lessons in such vocation or 
direction of intellect as he himself selects. Some, 
however, prefer to pass this period of probation 
in travel, or to emigrate, or to settle down at 
once into rural or commercial pursuits. No force 
is put upon individual inclination. 



The word Ana (pronounced broadly Arna) cor- 
responds with our plural men ; An (pronounced 
Am), the singular, with man. The word for 
woman is Gy (pronounced hard, as in Guy) ; it 
forms itself into Gy-ei for the plural, but the G 
becomes soft in the plural, like Jy-ei. They 
have a proverb to the effect that this difference 
in pronunciation is symbolical, for that the female 
sex is soft in the concrete, but hard to deal with 
in the individual. The Gy-ei are in the fullest 
enjoyment of all the rights of equality with 
males, for which certain philosophers above 
ground contend. 

In childhood they perform the offices of work 
and labour impartially with the boys; and, in- 
deed, in the earlier age appropriated to the 
destruction of animals irreclaimably hostile, the 


girls are frequently preferred, as being by con- 
stitution more ruthless under the influence of 
fear or hate. In the interval between infancy 
and the marriageable age familiar intercourse 
between the sexes is suspended. At the mar- 
riageable age it is renewed, never with worse 
consequences than those which attend upon 
marriage. All arts and vocations allotted to 
the one sex are open to the other, and the 
Gy-ei arrogate to themselves a superiority in 
all those abstruse and mystical branches of 
reasoning, for which they say the Ana are un- 
fitted by a duller sobriety of understanding, or 
the routine of their matter-of-fact occupations, 
just as young ladies in our own world constitute 
themselves authorities in the subtlest points of 
theological doctrine, for which few men, actively 
engaged in worldly business, have sufficient learn- 
ing or refinement of intellect. Whether owing 
to early training in gymnastic exercises or to 
their constitutional organisation, the Gy-ei are 
usually superior to the Ana in physical strength 
(an important element in the consideration and 
maintenance of female rights). They attain to 


loftier stature, and amid their rounder pro- 
portions are embedded sinews and muscles as 
hardy as those of the other sex. Indeed they 
assert that, according to the original laws of 
nature, females were intended to be larger than 
males, and maintain this dogma by reference to 
the earliest formations of life in insects, and in 
the most ancient family of the vertebrata — viz., 
fishes — in both of which the females are generally 
large enough to make a meal of their consorts 
if they so desire. Above all, the Gy-ei have a 
readier and more concentred power over that 
mysterious fluid or agency which contains the 
element of destruction, with a larger portion 
of that sagacity which comprehends dissimula- 
tion. Thus they can not only defend them- 
selves against all aggressions from the males, 
but could, at any moment when he least suspected 
his danger, terminate the existence of an offend- 
ing spouse. To the credit of the Gy-ei no in- 
stance of their abuse of this awful superiority in 
the art of destruction is on record for several ages. 
The last that occurred in the community I speak 
of appears (according to their chronology) to have 


been about two thousand years ago. A Gy, then, 
in a fit of jealousy, slew her husband ; and this 
abominable act inspired such terror among the 
males that they emigrated in a body and left all 
the Gy-ei to themselves. The history runs that 
the widowed Gy-ei, thus reduced to despair, fell 
upon the murderess when in her sleep (and there- 
fore unarmed), and killed her, and then entered 
into a solemn obligation amongst themselves to 
abrogate for ever the exercise of their extreme 
conjugal powers, and to inculcate the same obli- 
gation for ever and ever on their female children. 
By this conciliatory process, a deputation de- 
spatched to the fugitive consorts succeeded in 
persuading many to return, but those who did re- 
turn were mostly the elder ones. The younger, 
either from too craven a doubt of their consorts, 
or too high an estimate of their own merits, 
rejected all overtures, and, remaining in other 
communities, were caught up there by other 
mates, with whom perhaps they were no better 
off. But the loss of so large a portion of the 
male youth operated as a salutary warning on 
the Gy-ei, and confirmed them in the pious re- 


solution to which they had pledged themselves. 
Indeed it is now popularly considered that, by 
long hereditary disuse, the Gy-ei have lost both 
the aggressive and the defensive superiority over 
the Ana which they once possessed, just as in 
the inferior animals above the earth many pecu- 
liarities in their original formation, intended 
by nature for their protection, gradually fade 
or become inoperative when not needed under 
altered circumstances. I should be sorry, how- 
ever, for any An who induced a Gy to make the 
experiment whether he or she were the stronger. 
From the incident I have narrated, the Ana 
date certain alterations in the marriage customs, 
tending, perhaps, somewhat to the advantage of 
the male. They now bind themselves in wedlock 
only for three years ; at the end of each third year 
either male or female can divorce the other and 
is free to marry again. At the end of ten years 
the An has the privilege of taking a second wife, 
allowing the first to retire if she so please. These 
regulations are for the most part a dead letter; 
divorces and polygamy are extremely rare, and 
the marriage state now seems singularly happy 


and serene among this astonishing people ; — the 
Gy-ei, notwithstanding their boastful superiority 
in physical strength and intellectual abilities, 
being much curbed into gentle manners by the 
dread of separation or of a second wife, and the 
Ana being very much the creatures of custom, 
and not, except under great aggravation, liking 
to exchange for hazardous novelties faces and 
manners to which they are reconciled by habit. 
But there is one privilege the Gy-ei carefully 
retain, and the desire for which perhaps forms the 
secret motive of most lady asserters of woman 
rights above ground. They claim the privilege, 
here usurped by men, of proclaiming their love 
and urging their suit ; in other words, of being 
the wooing party rather than the w T ooed. Such 
a phenomenon as an old maid does not exist 
among the Gy-ei. Indeed it is very seldom that 
a Gy does not secure any An upon whom she sets 
her heart, if his affections be not strongly engaged 
elsewhere. However coy, reluctant, and prudish, 
the male she courts may prove at first, yet her 
perseverance, her ardour, her persuasive powers, 
her command over the mystic agencies of vril, are 


pretty sure to run down his neck into what we 
call "the fatal noose." Their argument for the 
reversal of that relationship of the sexes which 
the blind tyranny of man has established on the 
surface of the earth, appears cogent, and is ad- 
vanced with a frankness which might well be 
commended to impartial consideration. They 
say, that of the two the female is by nature of a 
more loving disposition than the male — that love 
occupies a larger space in her thoughts, and is 
more essential to her happiness, and that there- 
fore she ought to be the wooing party ; that 
otherwise the male is a shy and dubitant crea- 
ture — that he has often a selfish predilection for 
the single state — that he often pretends to mis- 
understand tender glances and delicate hints — 
that, in short, he must be resolutely pursued and 
captured. They add, moreover, that unless the 
Gy can secure the An of her choice, and one 
whom she would not select out of the whole 
world becomes her mate, she is not only less 
happy than she otherwise would be, but she is 
not so good a being, that her qualities of heart 
are not sufficiently developed ; whereas the An 


is a creature that less lastingly concentrates his 
affections on one object; that if he cannot get 
the Gy whom he prefers he easily reconciles him- 
self to another Gy ; and, finally, that at the 
worst, if he is loved and taken care of, it is less 
necessary to the welfare of his existence that he 
should love as well as he loved ; he grows con- 
tented with his creature comforts, and the many 
occupations of thought which he creates for 

Whatever may be said as to this reasoning, the 
system works well for the male ; for being thus 
sure that he is truly and ardently loved, and that 
the more coy and reluctant he shows himself, the 
more the determination to secure him increases, 
he generally contrives to make his consent de- 
pendent on such conditions as he thinks the best 
calculated to insure, if not a blissful, at least a 
peaceful life. Each individual An has his own 
hobbies, his own ways, his own predilections, and, 
whatever they may be, he demands a promise of 
full and unrestrained concession to them. This, 
in the pursuit of her object, the Gy readily pro- 
mises ; and as the characteristic of this extraordi- 


nary people is an implicit veneration for truth, 
and her word once given is never broken even 
by the giddiest Gy, the conditions stipulated for 
are religiously observed. In fact, notwithstand- 
ing all their abstract rights and powers, the Gy-ei 
are the most amiable, conciliatory, and submissive 
wives I have ever seen even in the happiest house- 
holds above ground. It is an aphorism among 
them, that " where a Gy loves it is her pleasure 
to obey." It will be observed that in the rela- 
tionship of the sexes I have spoken only of mar- 
riage, for such is the moral perfection to which 
this community has attained, that any illicit con- 
nection is as little possible amongst them as it 
would be to a couple of linnets during the time 
they agreed to live in pairs. 



Nothing had more perplexed me in seeking to 
reconcile my sense to the existence of regions 
extending below the surface of the earth, and 
habitable by beings, if dissimilar from, still, in 
all material points of organism, akin to those in 
the upper world, than the contradiction thus 
presented to the doctrine in which, I believe, 
most geologists and philosophers concur — viz., 
that though with us the sun is the great source 
of heat, yet the deeper we go beneath the crust 
of the earth, the greater is the increasing heat, 
being, it is said, found in the ratio of a degree 
for every foot, commencing from fifty feet below 
the surface. But though the domains of the 
tribe I speak of were, on the higher ground, so 
comparatively near to the surface, that I could 
account for a temperature, therein, suitable to 


organic life, yet even the ravines and valleys of 
that realm were much less hot than philosophers 
would deem possible at such a depth — certainly 
not warmer than the south of France, or at least 
of Italy. And according to all the accounts I 
received, vast tracts immeasurably deeper be- 
neath the surface, and in which one mio;ht have 
thought only salamanders could exist, were in- 
habited by innumerable races organised like our- 
selves. I cannot pretend in any way to account 
for a fact which is so at variance with the recog- 
nised laws of science, nor could Zee much help 
me towards a solution of it. She did but con- 
jecture that sufficient allowance had not been 
made by our philosophers for the extreme por- 
ousness of the interior earth — the vastness of its 
cavities and irregularities, which served to create 
free currents of air and frequent winds — and for 
the various modes in which heat is evaporated 
and thrown off. She allowed, however, that there 
was a depth at which the heat was deemed to be 
intolerable to such organised life as was known to 
the experience of the Yril-ya, though their philo- 
sophers believed that even in such places life of 



some kind, life sentient, life intellectual, would 
be found abundant and thriving, could the phi- 
losophers penetrate to it. "Wherever the All- 
Good builds," said she, " there, be sure, He places 
inhabitants. He loves not empty dwellings." 
She added, however, that many changes in tem- 
perature and climate had been effected by the 
skill of the Vril-ya, and that the agency of vril 
had been successfully employed in such changes. 
She described a subtle and life-giving medium 
called Lai, which I suspect to be identical with 
the ethereal oxygen of Dr Lewins, wherein work 
all the correlative forces united under the name 
of vril; and contended that wherever this medium 
could be expanded, as it were, sufficiently for the 
various agencies of vril to have ample play, a 
temperature congenial to the highest forms of life 
could be secured. She said also, that it was the 
belief of their naturalists that flowers and vege- 
tation had been produced originally (whether 
developed from seeds borne from the surface of 
the earth in the earlier convulsions of nature, or 
imported by the tribes that first sought refuge in 
cavernous hollows) through the operations of the 


light constantly brought to bear on them, and the 
gradual improvement in culture. She said also, 
that since the vril light had superseded all other 
light-giving bodies, the colours of flower and 
foliage had become more brilliant, and vegetation 
had acquired larger growth. 

Leaving these matters to the consideration of 
those better competent to deal with them, I must 
now devote a few pages to the very interesting 
questions connected with the language of the 

8 4 


The language of the Vril-ya is peculiarly interest- 
ing, because it seems to me to exhibit with great 
clearness the traces of the three main transitions 
through which language passes in attaining to 
perfection of form. 

One of the most illustrious of recent philolo- 
gists, Max Miiller, in arguing for the analogy 
between the strata of lano-uao-e and the strata of 

© © 

the earth, lays down this absolute dogma : " No 
language can, by any possibility, be inflectional 
without having passed through the agglutinative 
and isolating stratum. No language can be ag- 

© © © © 

glutinative without clinging with its roots to 
the underlying stratum of isolation." — ' On the 
Stratification of Language' p. 20. 

Taking then the Chinese language as the best 
existing type of the original isolating stratum, 
" as the faithful photograph of man in his leading- 


strings trying the muscles of his mind, groping 
his way, and so delighted with his first successful 
grasps that he repeats them again and again,"""" — ■ 
we have, in the language of theVril-ya, still "cling- 
ing with its roots to the underlying stratum," the 
evidences of the original isolation. It abounds 
in monosyllables, which are the foundations of the 
language. The transition into the agglutinative 
form marks an epoch that must have gradually 
extended through ages, the written literature of 
which has only survived in a few fragments of 
symbolical mythology and certain pithy sentences 
which have passed into popular proverbs. With 
the extant literature of the Vril-ya the inflectional 
stratum commences. No doubt at that time 
there must have operated concurrent causes, in 
the fusion of races by some dominant people, and 
the rise of some great literary phenomena by 
which the form of language became arrested and 
fixed. As the inflectional stage prevailed over 
the agglutinative, it is surprising to see how 
much more boldly the original roots of the lan- 
guage project from the surface that coDceals 

* Max Muller, ' Stratification of Language,' p. 13. 


them. In the old fragments and proverbs of the 
preceding stage the monosyllables which com- 
pose those roots vanish amidst words of enor- 
mous length, comprehending whole sentences from 
which no one part can be disentangled from the 
other and employed separately. But when the 
inflectional form of language became so far ad- 
vanced as to have its scholars and grammarians, 
they seem to have united in extirpating all such 
polysynthetical or polysyllabic monsters, as de- 
vouring invaders of the aboriginal forms. "Words 
beyond three syllables became proscribed as bar- 
barous, and in proportion as the language grew 
thus simplified it increased in strength, in 
dignity, and in sweetness. Though now very 
compressed in sound, it gains in clearness by 
that compression. By a single letter, according 
to its position, they contrive to express all that 
with civilised nations in our upper world it takes 
the waste, sometimes of syllables, sometimes of 
sentences, to express. Let me here cite one 
or two instances : An (which I will translate 
man), Ana (men) ; the letter s is with them 
a letter implying multitude, according to where 


it is placed ; Sana means mankind ; Ansa, a 
multitude of men. The prefix of certain letters 
in tlieir alphabet invariably denotes compound 
significations. For instance, Gl (which with them 
is a single letter, as th is a single letter with 
the Greeks) at the commencement of a word 
infers an assemblage or union of things, some- 
times kindred, sometimes dissimilar — as Oon, a 
house ; Gloon, a town (i. e., an assemblage of 
houses). Ata is sorrow ; Glata, a public calam- 
ity. Aur-an is the health or weilbeing of a 
man ; Glauran, the weilbeing of the state, the 
good of the community ; and k word constantly 
in tlieir mouths is A-glauran, which denotes their 
political creed — viz., that " the first principle of 
a community is the good of all." Aub is inven- 
tion ; Sila, a tone in music. Glaubsila, as uniting 
the ideas of invention and of musical intonation, 
is the classical word for poetry — abbreviated, in 
ordinary conversation, to Glaubs. Na, which 
with them is, like Gl, but a single letter, al- 
ways, when an initial, implies something antago- 
nistic to life or joy or comfort, resembling in this 
the Aryan root Nak, expressive of perishing or 


destruction. Nax is darkness; Narl, death; Nana, 
sin or evil. Nas — an uttermost condition of sin 
and evil — corruption. In writing, they deem it 
irreverent to express the Supreme Being by any 
special name. He-' is symbolised by what may 
be termed the hieroglyphic of a pyramid, A. In 
prayer they address Him by a name which they 
deem too sacred to confide to a stranger, and I 
know it not. In conversation they generally use 
a periphrastic epithet, such as the All-Good. The 
letter V, symbolical of the inverted pyramid, 
where it is an initial, nearly always denotes 
excellence or power ; as Vril, of which I have said 
so much ; Veed, an immortal spirit ; Yeed-ya, 
immortality ; Koom, pronounced like the Welsh 
Cwm, denotes something of hollo wness. Koom 
itself is a cave ; Koom-in, a hole ; Zi-koom, a 
valley; Koom-zi, vacancy or void; Bodh-koom, 
ignorance (literally, knowledge-void). Koom-Posh 
is their name for the government of the many, or 
the ascendancy of the most ignorant or hollow. 
Posh is an almost untranslatable idiom, implying, 
as the reader will see later, contempt. The closest 
rendering I can give to it is our slang term, 


" bosh ; " and thus Koom-Posh may be loosely 
rendered " Hollow-Bosh." But when Democracy 
or Koom-Posh degenerates from popular ignorance 
into that popular passion or ferocity which pre- 
cedes its decease, as (to cite illustrations from 
the upper world) during the French Eeign of 
Terror, or for the fifty years of the Roman Re- 
public preceding the ascendancy of Augustus, their 
name for that state of things is Glek-Nas. Ek is 
strife — Glek, the universal strife. Nas, as I before 
said, is corruption or rot ; thus Glek-Nas may be 
construed, " the universal strife - rot." Their 
compounds are very expressive ; thus, Bodh being 
knowledge, and Too a participle that implies the 
action of cautiously approaching, — Too-bodh is 
their word for Philosophy ; Pah is a contemptu- 
ous exclamation analogous to our idiom, "stuff 
and nonsense ; " Pah-bodh (literally, stuff-and- 
nonsense-knowledge) is their term for futile or 
false philosophy, and applied to a species of 
metaphysical or speculative ratiocination for- 
merly in vogue, which consisted in making in- 
quiries tli at could not be answered, and were not 
worth making ; such, for instance, as, " Why does 



an An have five toes to his feet instead of four 
or six ? Did the first An, created by the All- 
Good, have the same number of toes as his de- 
scendants ? In the form by which an An will be 
recognised by his friends in the future state of 
being, will he retain any toes at all, and, if so, 
will they be material toes or spiritual toes V I 
take these illustrations of Pah-bodh, not in irony 
or jest, but because the very inquiries I name 
formed the subject of controversy by the latest 
cultivators of that 'science' — 4000 years ago. 

In the declension of nouns I was informed that 
anciently there were eight cases (one more than 
in the Sanskrit Grammar) ; but the effect of time 
has been to reduce these, cases, and multiply, in- 
stead of these varying terminations, explanatory 
prepositions. At present, in the Grammar sub- 
mitted to my study, there were four cases to 
nouns, three having varying terminations, and 
the fourth a differing prefix. 











to Man. 



to Men. 












, Men. 


In the elder inflectional literature the dual 
form existed — it has long been obsolete. 

The genitive case with them is also obsolete ; 
the dative supplies its place : they say the House 
to a Man, instead of the House of a Man. When 
used (sometimes in poetry), the genitive in the 
termination is the same as the nominative ; so is 
the ablative, the preposition that marks it being 
a prefix or suffix at option, and generally decided 
by ear, according to the sound of the noun. It 
will be observed that the prefix Hil marks the 
vocative case. It is always retained in addressing 
another, except in the most intimate domestic 
relations ; its omission would be considered rude : 
just as in our old forms of speech in addressing a 
king it would have been deemed disrespectful to 
say " King," and reverential to say " King." In 
fact, as they have no titles of honour, the vocative 
adjuration supplies the place of a title, and is 
given impartially to all. The prefix Hil enters 
into the composition of words that imply distant 
communications, as Hil-ya, to travel. 

In the conjugation of their verbs, which is 
much too lengthy a subject to enter on here, the 


auxiliary verb Ya, " to go," which plays so consi- 
derable part in the Sanskrit, appears and performs 
a kindred office, as if it were a radical in some 
language from which both had descended. But 
another auxiliary of opposite signification also 
accompanies it and shares its labours — viz., Zi, to 
stay or repose. Thus Ya enters into the future 
tense, and Zi in the preterite of all verbs requir- 
ing auxiliaries. Yam, I go — Yiam, I may go — 
Yani-ya, I shall go (literally, I go to go) Zam- 
poo-yan, I have gone (literally, I rest from gone). 
Ya, as a termination, implies by analogy, progress, 
movement, efflorescence. Zi, as a terminal, de- 
notes fixity, sometimes in a good sense, sometimes 
in a bad, according to the word with which it is 
coupled. Iva-zi, eternal goodness ; Nan-zi, eter- 
nal evil. Poo (from) enters as a prefix to words 
that denote repugnance, or things from which we 
ought to be averse. Poo-pra, disgust ; Poo-naria, 
falsehood, the vilest kind of evil. Poosh or Posh 
I have already confessed to be untranslatable 
literally. It is an expression of contempt not 
unmixed with pity. This radical seems to have 
orginated from inherent sympathy between the 


labial effort and the sentiment that impelled it, 
Poo being an utterance in which the breath is 
exploded from the lips with more or less vehe- 
mence. On the other hand, Z, when an initial, is 
with them a sound in which the breath is sucked 
inward, and thus Zu, pronounced Zoo (which in 
their language is one letter), is the ordinary prefix 
to words that signify something that attracts, 
pleases, touches the heart — as Zummer, lover ; 
Zutze, love ; Zuzulia, delight. This indrawn 
sound of Z seems indeed naturally appropriate 
to fondness. Thus, even in our language, mothers 
say to their babies, in defiance of grammar, 
" Zoo darling ; " and I have heard a learned pro- 
fessor at Boston call his wife (he had been only 
married a month) " Zoo little pet." 

I cannot quit this subject, however, without 
observing by what slight changes in the dialects 
favoured by different tribes of the same race, the 
original signification and beauty of sounds may 
become confused and deformed. Zee told me 
with much indignation that Zummer (lover) 
which, in the way she uttered it, seemed slowly 
taken down to the very depths of her heart, 


was, in some not very distant communities of 
the Vril-ya, vitiated into the half-hissing, half- 
nasal, wholly disagreeable, sound of Subber. I 
thought to myself it only wanted the introduction 
of n before u to render it into an English 
word significant of the last quality an amorous 
Gy would desire in her Zummer. 

I will but mention another peculiarity in this 
language which gives equal force and brevity to 
its forms of expressions. 

A is with them, as with us, the first letter of 
the alphabet, and is often used as a prefix word 
by itself to convey a complex idea of sovereignty 
or chiefdom, or presiding principle. For instance, 
Iva is goodness ; Diva, goodness and happiness 
united ; A -Diva is unerring and absolute truth. 
I have already noticed the value of A in A-glauran, 
so, in vril (to whose properties they trace their 
present state of civilisation), A -vril, denotes, 
as I have said, civilisation itself. 

The philologist will have seen from the above 
how much the language of the Vril-ya is akin to the 
Aryan or Indo-G ermanic ; but, like all languages, 
it contains words and forms in which transfers 


from very opposite sources of speech have been 
taken. The very title of Tur, which they give 
to their supreme magistrate, indicates theft from 
a tongue akin to the Turanian. They say them- 
selves that this is a foreign word borrowed from 
a title which their historical records show to have 
been borne by the chief of a nation with whom 
the ancestors of the Vril-ya were, in very remote 
periods, on friendly terms, but which has long 
become extinct, and they say that when, after 
the discovery of vril, they remodelled their po- 
litical institutions, they expressly adopted a title 
taken from an extinct race and a dead language 
for that of their chief magistrate, in order to 
avoid all titles for that office with which they 
had previous associations. 

Should life be spared to me, I may collect into 
systematic form such knowledge as I acquired of 
this language during my sojourn amongst the 
Vril-ya. But what I have already said will perhaps 
suffice to show to genuine philological students 
that a language which, preserving so many of the 
roots in the aboriginal form, and clearing from 
the immediate, but transitory, polysynthetical 


stage so many riule incumbrances, has attained 
to such a union of simplicity and compass in 
its final inflectional forms, must have been the 
gradual work of countless ages and many varieties 
of mind ; that it contains the evidence of fusion 
between congenial races, and necessitated, in 
arriving at the shape of which I have given 
examples, the continuous culture of a highly 
thoughtful people. 

That, nevertheless, the literature which belongs 
to this language is a literature of the past ; that 
the present felicitous state of society at which the 
Ana have attained forbids the progressive cul- 
tivation of literature, especially in the two main 
divisions of fiction and history, — I shall have 
occasion to show later. 



This people have a religion, and, whatever may 
be said against it, at least it lias these strange 
peculiarities : firstly, that they all believe in the 
creed they profess ; secondly, that they all practise 
the precepts which the creed inculcates. They 
unite in the worship of the one divine Creator 
and Sustainer of the universe. They believe that 
it is one of the properties of the all-permeating 
agency of vril, to transmit to the well-spring of 
life and intelligence every thought that a living 
creature can conceive; and though they do not 
contend that the idea of a Deity is innate, yet 
they say that the An (man) is the only creature, 
so far as their observation of nature extends, to 
whom the capacity of conceiving that idea, with 
all the trains of thought which open out from it, 
is vouchsafed. They hold that this capacity is a 



privilege that cannot have been given in vain, 
and hence that prayer and thanksgiving are 
acceptable to the divine Creator, and necessary to 
the complete development of the human crea- 
ture. They offer their devotions both in private 
and public. Not being considered one of their 
species, I was not admitted into the building or 
temple in which the public worship is rendered; 
but I am informed that the service is exceedingly 
short, and unattended with any pomp of ceremony. 
It is a doctrine with the Vril-ya, that earnest devo- 
tion or complete abstraction from the actual world 
cannot, with benefit to itself, be maintained long 
at a stretch by the human mind, especially in 
public, and that all attempts to do so either lead 
to fanaticism or to hypocrisy. When they pray 
in private, it is when they are alone or with their 
young children. 

They say that in ancient times there was a 
great number of books written upon speculations 
as to the nature of the Deity, and upon the forms 
of belief or worship supposed to be most agreeable 
to Him. But these were found to lead to such 
heated and angry disputations as not only to 


shake the peace of the community and divide 
families before the most united, but in the course 
of discussing the attributes of the Deity, the 
existence of the Deity Himself became argued 
away, or, what was worse, became invested with 
the passions and infirmities of the human dis- 
putants. " For," said my host, " since a finite 
being like an An cannot possibly define the In- 
finite, so, when he endeavours to realise an idea 
of the Divinity, he only reduces the Divinity into 
an An like himself." During; the later ages, there- 
fore, all theological speculations, though not for- 
bidden, have been so discouraged as to have fallen 
utterly into disuse. 

The Vril-ya unite in a conviction of a future 
state, more felicitous and more perfect than the 
present. If they have very vague notions of the 
doctrine of rewards and punishments, it is per- 
haps because they have no systems of rewards 
and punishments among themselves, for there 
are no crimes to punish, and their moral stand- 
ard is so even that no An among them is, 
upon the whole, considered more virtuous than 
another. If one excels, perhaps, in one virtue, 


another equally excels in some other virtue; if 
one has his prevalent fault or infirmity, so also 
another has his. In fact, in their extraordi- 
nary mode of life, there are so few temptations 
to wrong, that they are good (according to their 
notions of goodness) merely because they live. 
They have some fanciful notions upon the con- 
tinuance of life, when once bestowed, even in 
the vegetable world, as the reader will see in the 
next chapter. 



Though, as I have said, the Vril-ya discourage all 
speculations on the nature of the Supreme Being, 
they appear to concur in a belief by which they 
think to solve that great problem of the existence 
of evil which has so perplexed the philosophy of 
the upper world. They hold that wherever He 
has once given life, with the perceptions of that 
life, however faint it be, as in a plant, the life is 
never destroyed ; it passes into new and improved 
forms, though not in this planet (differing therein 
from the ordinary doctrine of metempsychosis), 
and that the living thing retains the sense of 
identity, so that it connects its past life with its 
future, and is conscious of its progressive improve- 
ment in the scale of joy. For they say that, with- 
out this assumption, they cannot, according to 
the lights of human reason vouchsafed to them, 


discover the perfect justice which must be a con- 
stituent quality of the All-Wise and the All-Good. 
Injustice, they say, can only emanate from three 
causes : want of wisdom to perceive what is just, 
want of benevolence to desire, want of power to 
fulfil it ; and that each of these three wants is 
incompatible in the All- Wise, the All-Good, the 
All-Powerful. But that, while even in this life, 
the wisdom, the benevolence, and the power of 
the Supreme Being are sufficiently apparent to 
compel our recognition, the justice necessarily re- 
sulting from those attributes, absolutely requires 
another life, not for man only, but for every living 
thing of the inferior orders. That, alike in the 
animal and the vegetable world, we see one in- 
dividual rendered, by circumstances beyond its 
control, exceedingly wretched compared to its 
neighbours — one only exists as the prey of an- 
other — even a plant suffers from disease till it 
perishes prematurely, while the plant next to it 
rejoices in its vitality and lives out its happy life 
free from a pang. That it is an erroneous analogy 
from human infirmities to reply by saying that the 
Supreme Being only acts by general laws, thereby 


making his own secondary causes so potent as to 
mar the essential kindness of the First Cause ; 
and a still meaner and more ignorant conception 
of the AH -Good, to dismiss with a brief con- 
tempt all consideration of justice for the myriad 
forms into which He has infused life, and assume 
that justice is only due to the single product of the 
An. There is no small and no great in the eyes 
of the divine Life-Giver. But once grant that 
nothing, however humble, which feels that it 
lives and suffers, can perish through the series of 
ages, that all its suffering here, if continuous from 
the moment of its birth to that of its transfer to 
another form of being, would be more brief com- 
pared with eternity than the cry of the new-born 
is compared to the whole life of a man; and once 
suppose that this living thing retains its sense of 
identity when so transferred (for without that 
sense it could be aware of no future being), and 
though, indeed, the fulfilment of divine justice is 
removed from the scope of our ken, yet we have 
a right to assume it to be uniform and universal, 
and not varying and partial, as it would be if 
acting only upon general secondary laws ; because 


such perfect justice flows of necessity from perfect- 
ness of knowledge to conceive, perfectness of love 
to will, and perfectness of power to complete it. 

However fantastic this belief of the Vril-ya 
may be, it tends perhaps to confirm politically 
the systems of government which, admitting 
differing degrees of wealth, yet establishes per- 
fect equality in rank, exquisite mildness in all 
relations and intercourse, and tenderness to all 
created things which the good of the community 
does not require them to destroy. And though 
their notion of compensation to a tortured insect 
or a cankered flower may seem to some of us a 
very wild crotchet, yet, at least, it is not a mis- 
chievous one ; and it may furnish matter for no 
unpleasing reflection to think that within the 
abysses of earth, never lit by a ray from the 
material heavens, there should have penetrated 
so luminous a conviction of the ineffable goodness 
of the Creator — so fixed an idea that the general 
laws by which He acts cannot admit of any 
partial injustice or evil, and therefore cannot be 
comprehended without reference to their action 
over all space and throughout all time. And 


since, as I shall have occasion to observe later, 
the intellectual conditions and social systems of 
this subterranean race comprise and harmonise 
great, and apparently antagonistic, varieties in 
philosophical doctrine and speculation which 
have from time to time been started, discussed, 
dismissed, and have re-appeared amongst thinkers 
or dreamers in the upper world, — so I may perhaps 
appropriately conclude this reference to the belief 
of the Vril-ya, that self-conscious or sentient life 
once given is indestructible among inferior crea- 
tures as well as in man, by an eloquent passage 
from the work of that eminent zoologist, Louis 
Agassiz, which I have only just met with, many 
years. after I had committed to paper those re- 
collections of the life of the Vril-ya which I 
now reduce into something like arrangement and 
form : " The relations which individual animals 
bear to one another are of such a character 
that they ought long ago to have been con- 
sidered as sufficient proof that no organised 
being could ever have been called into existence 
by other agency than by the direct intervention 
of a reflective mind. This argues strongly in 


favour of the existence in every animal of an 
immaterial principle similar to that which by its 
excellence and superior endowments places man 
so much above animals ; yet the principle un- 
questionably exists, and whether it be called 
sense, reason, or instinct, it presents in the whole 
range of organised beings a series of phenomena 
closely linked together, and upon it are based 
not only the higher manifestations of the mind, 
but the very permanence of the specific differ- 
ences which characterise every organism. Most 
of the arguments in favour of the immortality 
of man apply equally to the permanency of this 
principle in other living beings. May I not add 
that a future life in which man would be de- 
prived of that great source of enjoyment and in- 
tellectual and moral improvement which results 
from the contemplation of the harmonies of an 
organic world would involve a lamentable loss? 
And may we not look to a spiritual concert of 
the combined worlds and all their inhabitants in 
the presence of their Creator as the highest con- 
ception of paradise ? " — ' Essay on Classification,' 
sect, jcvii. p. 97-99. 



Kind to me as I found all in tins household, the 
young daughter of my host was the most con- 
siderate and thoughtful in her kindness. At her 
suo-crestion I laid aside the habiliments in which 
I had descended from the upper earth, and 
adopted the dress of the Vril-ya, with the excep- 
tion of the artful wings which served them, when 
on foot, as a graceful mantle. But as many of 
the Vril-ya, when occupied in urban pursuits, did 
not wear these wings, this exception created no 
marked difference between myself and the race 
among which I sojourned, and I was thus enabled 
to visit the town without exciting unpleasant 
curiosity. Out of the household no one suspected 
that I had come from the upper world, and I was 
but regarded as one of some inferior and bar- 
barous tribe whom Aph-Lin entertained as a guest. 


The city was large in proportion to the terri- 
tory round it, which was of no greater extent 
than many an English or Hungarian nobleman's 
estate ; but the whole of it, to the verge of 
the rocks which constituted its boundary, was 
cultivated to the nicest degree, except where 
certain allotments of mountain and pasture were 
humanely left free to the sustenance of the 
harmless animals they had tamed, though not 
for domestic use. So great is their kindness 
towards these humbler creatures, that a sum 
is devoted from the public treasury for the 
purpose of deporting them to other Vril-ya 
communities willing to receive them (chiefly 
new colonies), whenever they become too nu- 
merous for the pastures allotted to them in 
their native place. They do not, however, mul- 
tiply to an extent comparable to the ratio at 
which, with us, animals bred for slaughter, in- 
crease. It seems a law of nature that animals not 
useful to man gradually recede from the domains 
he occupies, or even become extinct. It is an 
old custom of the various sovereign states amidst 
which the race of the Vril-ya are distributed, to 


leave between each state a neutral and unculti- 
vated border-land. In the instance of the com- 
munity I speak of, this tract, being a ridge of 
savage rocks, was impassable by foot, but was 
easily surmounted, whether by the wings of the 
inhabitants or the air-boats, of which I shall 
speak hereafter. Eoads through it were also cut 
for the transit of vehicles impelled by vril. These 
intercommunicating tracts were always kept 
lighted, and the expense thereof defrayed by a 
special tax, to which all the communities com- 
prehended in the denomination of Vril-ya con- 
tribute in settled proportions. By these means a 
considerable commercial traffic with other states, 
both near and distant, was carried on. The 
surplus wealth of this special community was 
chiefly agricultural. The community was also 
eminent for skill in constructing implements 
connected with the arts of husbandry. In ex- 
change for such merchandise it obtained articles 
more of luxury than necessity. There were few 
things imported on which they set a higher price 
than birds taught to pipe artful tunes in concert. 
These were brought from a great distance, and 


were marvellous for beauty of song and plumage. 
I understood that extraordinary care was taken 
by their breeders and teachers in selection, and 
that the species had wonderfully improved during 
the last few years. I saw no other pet animals 
among this community except some very amusing 
and sportive creatures of the Batrachian species, 
resembling frogs, but with very intelligent coun- 
tenances, which the children were fond of, and 
kept in their private gardens. They appear to 
have no animals akin to our dogs or horses, 
though that learned naturalist, Zee, informed me 
that such creatures had once existed in those parts, 
and might now be found in regions inhabited by 
other races than the Vril-ya. She said that they 
had gradually disappeared from the more civil- 
ised world since the discovery of vril, and the 
results attending that discovery had dispensed 
with their uses. Machinery and the invention of 
wings had superseded the horse as a beast of 
burden ; and the dog was no longer wanted either 
for protection or the chase, as it had been when 
the ancestors of the Vril-ya feared the aggressions 
of their own kind, or hunted the lesser animals for 


food. Indeed, however, so far as the horse was 
concerned, this region was so rocky that a horse 
could have been, there, of little use either for 
pastime or burden. The only creature they use 
for the latter purpose is a kind of large goat 
which is much employed on farms. The nature 
of the surrounding soil in these districts may be 
said to have first suggested the invention of 
wings and air-boats. The largeness of space in 
proportion to the space occupied by the city, was 
occasioned by the custom of surrounding every 
house with a separate garden. The broad main 
street, in which Aph-Lin dwelt, expanded into a 
vast square, in which were placed the College of 
Sages and all the public offices ; a magnificent 
fountain of the luminous fluid which I call 
naphtha (I am ignorant of its real nature) in the 
centre. All these public edifices have a uniform 
character of massiveness and solidity. They re- 
minded me of the architectural pictures of Martin. 
Along the upper stories of each ran a balcony, or 
rather a terraced garden, supported by columns, 
filled with flowering- plants, and tenanted by 
many kinds of tame birds. From the square 


branched several streets, all broad and brilliantly 
lighted, and ascending up the eminence on either 
side. In my excursions in the town I was never 
allowed to go alone ; Aph-Lin or his daughter 
was my habitual companion. In this com- 
munity the adult Gy is seen walking with any 
young An as familiarly as if there were no dif- 
ference of sex. 

The retail shops are not very numerous ; the 
persons who attend on a customer are all children 
of various ages, and exceedingly intelligent and 
courteous, but without the least touch of impor- 
tunity or cringing. The shopkeeper himself 
might or misdit not be visible ; when visible, he 
seemed rarely employed on any matter connected 
with his professional business ; and yet he had 
taken to that business from special liking to it, 
and quite independently of his general sources of 


Some of the richest citizens in the community 
kept such shops. As I have before said, no 
difference of rank is recognisable, and therefore 
all occupations hold the same equal social status. 
An An, of whom I bought my sandals, was the 


brother of the Tur, or chief magistrate ; and 
though his shop was not larger than that of any 
bootmaker in Bond Street or Broadway, he was 
said to be twice as rich as the Tur who dwelt 
in a palace. No doubt, however, he had some 

The Ana of the community are, on the whole, 
an indolent set of beings after the active age of 
childhood. Whether by temperament or philo- 
sophy, they rank repose among the chief blessings 
of life. Indeed, when you take away from a 
human being the incentives to action which are 
found in cupidity or ambition, it seems to me no 
wonder that he rests quiet. 

In their ordinary movements they prefer the 
use of their feet to that of their wings. But for 
their sports or (to indulge in a bold misuse of 
terms) their public 'promenades, they employ the 
latter, also for the aerial dances I have described, 
as well as for visiting their country places, which 
are mostly placed on lofty heights ; and, when 
still young, they prefer their wings for travel 
into the other regions of the Ana, to vehicular 



Those who accustom themselves to flight can 
fly, if less rapidly than some birds, yet from 
twenty-five to thirty miles an hour, and keep up 
that rate for five or six hours at a stretch. But 
the Ana generally, on reaching middle age, are 
not fond of rapid movements requiring violent 
exercise. Perhaps for this reason, as they hold a 
doctrine which our own physicians will doubtless 
approve — viz., that regular transpiration through 
the pores of the skin is essential to health, 
they habitually use the sweating-baths to which 
we give the name of Turkish or Eoman, suc- 
ceeded by douches of perfumed waters. They 
have great faith in the salubrious virtue of 
certain perfumes. 

It is their custom also, at stated but rare 
periods, perhaps four times a - year when in 
health, to use a bath charged with vril.* They 
consider that this fluid, sparingly used, is a great 
sustainer of life ; but used in excess, when in the 
normal state of health, rather tends to reaction 

* I once tried the effect of the vril hath. It was very similar 
in its invigorating powers to that of the baths at Gastein, the 
virtues of which are ascribed hy many physicians to electricity ; 
but though similar, the effect of the vril hath was more lasting. 


and exhausted vitality. For nearly all their 
diseases, however, they resort to it as the chief 
assistant to nature in throwing off the complaint. 
In their own way they are the most luxurious 
of people, but all their luxuries are innocent. 
They may be said to dwell in an atmosphere 
of music and fragrance. Every room has its 
mechanical contrivances for melodious sounds, 
usually tuned down to soft - murmured notes, 
which seem like sweet whispers from invisible 
spirits. They are too accustomed to these gentle 
sounds to find them a hindrance to conversation, 
nor, when alone, to reflection. But they have a 
notion that to breathe an air filled with continu- 
ous melody and perfume has necessarily an effect 
at once soothing and elevating upon the forma- 
tion of character and the habits of thought. 
Though so temperate, and with total abstinence 
from other animal food than milk, and from all 
intoxicating drinks, they are delicate and dainty 
to an extreme in food and beverage ; and in all 
their sports even the old exhibit a childlike 
gaiety. Happiness is the end at which they aim, 
not as the excitement of a moment, but as the 
prevailing condition of the entire existence ; and 


regard for the happiness of each other is evinced 
by the exquisite amenity of their manners. 

Their conformation of skull has marked dif- 
ferences from that of any known races in the 
upper world, though I cannot help thinking it a 
development, in the course of countless ages, of 
the Brachycephalic type of the Age of Stone in 
Lyell's 'Elements of Geology/ C. X., p. 113, as 
compared with the Dolichocephalic type of the 
beginning of the Age of Iron, correspondent with 
that now so prevalent amongst us, and called the 
Celtic type. It has the same comparative mas- 
siveness of forehead, not receding like the Celtic 
— the same even roundness in the frontal organs; 
but it is far loftier in the apex, and far less pro- 
nounced in the hinder cranial hemisphere where 
phrenologists place the animal organs. To speak 
as a phrenologist, the cranium common to the 
Yril-ya has the organs of weight, number, tune, 
form, order, causality, very largly developed ; 
that of construction much more pronounced 
than that of ideality. Those which are called 
the moral organs, such as conscientiousness 
and benevolence, are amazingly full ; amative- 


ness and combativeness are both small ; adhe- 
siveness large ; the organ of destructiveness (i.e., 
of determined clearance of intervening obstacles) 
immense, but less than that of benevolence ; and 
their pliiloprogenitiveness takes rather the char- 
acter of compassion and tenderness to things that 
need aid or protection than of the animal love of 
offspring. I never met with one person deformed 
or misshapen. The beauty of their countenances 
is not only in symmetry of feature, but in a 
smoothness of surface, which continues without 
line or wrinkle to the extreme of old age, and a 
serene sweetness of expression, combined with 
that majesty which seems to come from con- 
sciousness of power and the freedom of all terror, 
physical or moral. It is that very sweetness, 
combined with that majesty, which inspired in a 
beholder like myself, accustomed to strive with 
the passions of mankind, a sentiment of humilia- 
tion, of awe, of dread. It is such an expression 
as a painter might give to a demi-god, a genius, 
an angel. The males of the Vril-ya are entirely 
beardless ; the Gy-ei sometimes, in old age, 
develop a small moustache. 


I was surprised to find that the colour of their 
skin was not uniformly that which I had re- 
marked in those individuals whom I had first 
encountered, — some being much fairer, and even 
with blue eyes, and hair of a deep golden auburn, 
though still of complexions warmer or richer in 
tone than persons in the north of Europe. 

I was told that this admixture of colouring 
arose from intermarriage with other and more 
distant tribes of the Vril-ya, who, whether by the 
accident of climate or early distinction of race, 
were of fairer hues than the tribes of which this 
community formed one. It was considered that 
the dark-red skin showed the most ancient family 
of Ana ; but they attached no sentiment of pride 
to that antiquity, and, on the contrary, believed 
their present excellence of breed came from fre- 
quent crossing with other families differing, yet 
akin ; and they encourage such intermarriages, 
always provided that it be with the Vril-ya 
nations. Nations which, not conforming their 
manners and institutions to those of the Vril-ya, 
nor indeed held capable of acquiring the powers 
over the vril agencies which it had taken them 


generations to attain and transmit, were regarded 
with more disdain than citizens of New York 
regard the negroes. 

I learned from Zee, who had more lore in all 
matters than any male with whom I was brought 
into familiar converse, that the superiority of the 
Vril-ya was supposed to have originated in the in- 
tensity of their earlier struggles against obstacles 
in nature amidst the localities in which they had 
first settled. " Wherever," said Zee, moralising, 
"wherever goes on that early process in the history 
of civilisation, by which life is made a struggle, 
in which the individual has to put forth all his 
powers to compete with his fellow, we invariably 
find this result — viz., since in the competition a 
vast number must perish, nature selects for pre- 
servation only the strongest specimens. With 
our race, therefore, even before the discovery of 
vril, only the highest organisations were pre- 
served ; and there is among our ancient books 
a legend, once popularly believed, that we were 
driven from a region that seems to denote the 
world you come from, in order to perfect our 
condition and attain to the purest elimination of 


our species by the severity of the struggles our 
forefathers underwent ; and that, when our edu- 
cation shall become finally completed, we are 
destined to return to the upper world, and sup- 
plant all the inferior races now existing therein." 
Aph-Lin and Zee often conversed with me in 
private upon the political and social conditions 
of that upper world, in which Zee so philosophi- 
cally assumed that the inhabitants were to be 
exterminated one day or other by the advent of 
the Yril-ya. They found in my accounts, — in 
which I continued to do all I could (without 
launching into falsehoods so positive that they 
would have been easily detected by the shrewd- 
ness of my listeners) to present our powers and 
ourselves in the most nattering point of view, — 
perpetual subjects of comparison between our 
most civilised populations and the meaner 
subterranean races which they considered hope- 
lessly plunged in barbarism, and doomed to 
gradual if certain extinction. But they both 
agreed in desiring to conceal from their com- 
munity all premature opening into the regions 
lighted by the sun; both were humane, and 


shrunk from the thought of annihilating so 
many millions of creatures ; and the pictures I 
drew of our life, highly coloured as they were, 
saddened them. In vain I boasted of our great 
men — poets, philosophers, orators, generals — and 
defied the Vril-ya to produce their equals. 
" Alas ! " said Zee, her grand face softening into 
an angel-like compassion, " this predominance of 
the few over the many is the surest and most 
fatal sign of a race incorrigibly savage. See you 
not that the primary condition of mortal happi- 
ness consists in the extinction of that strife and 
competition between individuals, which, no matter 
what forms of government they adopt, render 
the many subordinate to the few, destroy real 
liberty to the individual, whatever may be the 
nominal liberty of the state, and annul that calm 
of existence, without which, felicity, mental or 
bodily, cannot be attained ? Our notion is, that 
the more we can assimilate life to the existence 
which our noblest ideas can conceive to be that 
of spirits on the other side of the grave, why, the 
more we approximate to a divine happiness here, 
and the more easily we glide into the conditions 


of being hereafter. For, surely, all we can ima- 
gine of the life of gods, or of blessed immortals, 
supposes the absence of self-made cares and con- 
tentious passions, such as avarice and ambition. 
It seems to us that it must be a life of serene 
tranquillity, not indeed without active occupa- 
tions to the intellectual or spiritual powers, but 
occupations, of whatsoever nature they be, con- 
genial to the idiosyncrasies of each, not forced 
and repugnant — a life gladdened by the untram- 
melled interchange of gentle affections, in which 
the moral atmosphere utterly kills hate and ven- 
geance, and strife and rivalry. Such is the politi- 
cal state to which all the tribes and families of the 
Vril-ya seek to attain, and towards that goal all 
our theories of government are shaped. You see 
how utterly opposed is such a progress to that of 
the uncivilised nations from which you come, and 
which aim at a systematic perpetuity of troubles, 
and cares, and warring passions, aggravated more 
and more as their progress storms its way on- 
ward. The most powerful of all the races in our 
world, beyond the pale of the Vril-ya, esteems 
itself the best governed of all political societies, 


and to have reached in that respect the extreme 
end at which political wisdom can arrive, so that 
the other nations should tend more or less to 
copy it. It has established, on its broadest 
base, the Koom-Posh- — viz., the government of 
the ignorant upon the principle of being the 
most numerous. It has placed the supreme 
bliss in the vying with each other in all things, 
so that the evil passions are never in repose — 
vying for power, for wealth, for eminence of some 
kind ; and in this rivalry it is horrible to hear 
the vituperation, the slanders, and calumnies 
which even the best and mildest among them 
heap on each other without remorse or shame.'"' 

" Some years ago," said Aph-Lin, " I visited 
this people, and their misery and degradation 
were the more appalling because they were always 
boasting of their felicity and grandeur as com- 
pared with the rest of their species. And there 
is no hope that this people, which evidently re- 
sembles your own, can improve, because all their 
notions tend to further deterioration. They de- 
sire to enlarge their dominion more and more, 
in direct antagonism to the truth that, beyond a 


very limited range, it is impossible to secure to 
a community the happiness which belongs to a 
well-ordered family ; and the more they mature 
a system by which a few individuals are heated 
and swollen to a size above the standard slender- 
ness of the millions, the more they chuckle and 
exact, and cry out, ' See by what great exceptions 
to the common littleness of our race we prove 
the magnificent results of our system ! ' 

" In fact," resumed Zee, " if the wisdom of 
human life be to approximate to the serene 
equality of immortals, there can be no more 
direct flying off into the opposite direction than 
a system which aims at carrying to the utmost 
the inequalities and turbulences of mortals. Nor 
do I see how, by any forms of religious belief, 
mortals, so acting, could fit themselves even to 
appreciate the joys of immortals to which they 
still expect to be transferred by the mere act 
dying. On the contrary, minds accustomed to 
place happiness in things so much the reverse of 
of godlike, would find the happiness of gods ex- 
ceedingly dull, and would long to get back to a 
world in which they could quarrel with each other." 



I have spoken so much of the Vril Staff that my 
reader may expect me to describe it. This I 
cannot do accurately, for I was never allowed to 
handle it for fear of some terrible accident occa- 
sioned by my ignorance of its use ; and I have no 
doubt that it requires much skill and practice in 
the exercise of its various powers. It is hollow, 
and has in the handle several stops, keys, or 
springs by which its force can be altered, modi- 
fied, or directed — so that by one process it de- 
stroys, by another it heals — by one it can rend 
the rock, by another disperse the vapour — by 
one it affects bodies, by another it can exercise 
a certain influence over minds. It is usually 
carried in the convenient size of a walking-staff, 
but it has slides by which it can be lengthened 
or shortened at will. When used for special pur- 


poses, the upper part rests in the hollow of the 
palm with the fore and middle fingers protruded. 
I was assured, however, that its power was not 
equal in all, but proportioned to the amount of 
certain vril properties in the wearer in affinity, or 
rapport with the purposes to be effected. Some 
were more potent to destroy, others to heal, 
&c. ; much also depended on the calm and steadi- 
ness of volition in the manipulator. They assert 
that the full exercise of vril power can only 
be acquired by constitutional temperament — 
i. e., by hereditarily transmitted organisation 
— and that a female infant of four years old 
belonging to the Vril-ya races can accomplish 
feats with the wand placed for the first time in 
her hand, which a life spent in its practice would 
not enable the strongest and most skilled me- 
chanician, born out of the pale of the Vril-ya, to 
achieve. All these wands are not equally com- 
plicated ; those intrusted to children are much 
simpler than those borne by sages of either sex, 
and constructed with a view to the special object 
in which the children are employed ; which, as I 
have before said, is among the youngest children 


the most destructive. In the wands of wives 
and mothers the correlative destroying force is 
usually abstracted, the healing power fully 
charged. I wish I could say more in detail of 
this singular conductor of the vril fluid, but 
its machinery is as exquisite as its effects are 

I should say, however, that this people have 
invented certain tubes by which the vril fluid 
can be conducted towards the object it is meant 
to destroy, throughout a distance almost indefi- 
nite; at least I put it modestly when I say from 
500 to 600 miles. And their mathematical 
science as applied to such purpose is so nicely 
accurate, that on the report of some observer in 
an air-boat, any member of the vril department 
can estimate unerringly the nature of interven- 
ing obstacles, the height to which the projectile 
instrument should be raised, and the extent to 
which it should be charged, so as to reduce to 
ashes within a space of time too short for me to 
venture to specify it, a capital twice as vast as 

Certainly these Ana are wonderful mechani- 


ciana — wonderful for the adaptation of the inven- 
tive faculty to practical uses. 

I went with my host and his daughter Zee 
over the great public museum, which occupies a 
wing in the College of Sages, and in which are 
hoarded, as curious specimens of the ignorant and 
blundering experiments of ancient times, many 
contrivances on which we pride ourselves as 
recent achievements. In one department, care- 
lessly thrown aside as obsolete lumber, are 
tubes for destroying life by metallic balls 
and an inflammable powder, on the prin- 
ciple of our cannons and catapults, and even 
still more murderous than our latest improve- 

My host spoke of these with a smile of con- 
tempt, such as an artillery officer might bestow 
on the bows and arrows of the Chinese. In an- 
other department there were models of vehicles 
and vessels worked by steam, and of an air- 
balloon which might have been constructed by 
Montgolfier. " Such," said Zee, with an air of 
meditative wisdom — "such were the feeble tri- 
flings with nature of our savage forefathers, ere 


tliey had even a glimmering perception of the 
properties of vril ! " 

This young Gy was a magnificent specimen of 
the muscular force to which the females of her 
country attain. Her features were beautiful, like 
those of all her race : never in the upper world 
have I seen a face so grand and so faultless, but 
her devotion to the severer studies had given to 
her countenance an expression of abstract thought 
which rendered it somewhat stern when in re- 
pose; and such sternness became formidable when 
observed in connection with her ample shoulders 
and lofty stature. She was tall even for a Gy, 
and I saw her lift up a cannon as easily as I 
could lift a pocket-pistol. Zee inspired me with 
a profound terror — a terror which increased when 
we came into a department of the museum ap- 
propriated to models of contrivances worked by 
the agency of vril ; for here, merely by a certain 
play of her vril staff, she herself standing at 
a distance, she put into movement large and 
weighty substances. She seemed to endow them 
with intelligence, and to make them comprehend 
and obey her command. She set complicated 



pieces of machinery into movement, arrested the 
movement or continued it, until, within an incre- 
dibly short time, various kinds of raw material 
were reproduced as symmetrical works of art, 
complete and perfect. Whatever effect mes- 
merism or electro-biology produces over the 
nerves and muscles of animated objects, this 
young Gy produced by the motions of her slen- 
der rod over the springs and wheels of lifeless 

When I mentioned to my companions my 
astonishment at this influence over inanimate 
matter — while owning that, in our world, I had 
witnessed phenomena which showed that over 
certain living organisations certain other living 
organisations could establish an influence genuine 
in itself, but often exaggerated by credulity or 
craft — Zee, who was more interested in such sub- 
jects than her father, bade me stretch forth my 
hand, and then, placing beside it her own, she 
called my attention to certain distinctions of type 
and character. In the first place, the thumb of 
the Gy (and, as I afterwards noticed, of all that 
race, male or female) was much larger, at once 


longer and more massive, than is found with our 
species above ground. There is almost, in this, as 
great a difference as there is between the thumb 
of a man and that of a gorilla. Secondly, the 
palm is proportionately thicker than ours — the 
texture of the skin infinitely finer and softer — its 
average warmth is greater. More remarkable 
than all this, is a visible nerve, perceptible under 
the skin, which starts from the wrist skirting the 
ball of the thumb, and branching, fork-like, at 
the roots of the fore and middle fingers. "With 
your slight formation of thumb," said the philo- 
sophical young Gy, " and with the absence of 
the nerve which you find more or less developed 
in the hands of our race, you can never achieve 
other than imperfect and feeble power over the 
agency of vril ; but so far as the nerve is con- 
cerned, that is not found in the hands of our 
earliest progenitors, nor in those of the ruder 
tribes without the pale of the Vril-ya. It has 
been slowly developed in the course of genera- 
tions, commencing in the early achievements, and 
increasing with the continuous exercise, of the 
vril power; therefore, in the course of one or 


two thousand years, such a nerve may possibly 
be engendered in those higher beings of your 
race, who devote themselves to that paramount 
science through which is attained command over 
all the subtler forces of nature permeated by 
vril. But when you talk of matter as some- 
thing in itself inert and motionless, your parents 
or tutors surely cannot have left you so ignorant 
as not to know that no form of matter is motion- 
less and inert : every particle is constantly in 
motion and constantly acted upon by agencies, 
of which heat is the most apparent and rapid, 
but vril the most subtle, and, when skilfully 
wielded, the most powerful. So that, in fact, the 
current launched by my hand and guided by my 
will does but render quicker and more potent 
the action which is eternally at work upon every 
particle of matter, however inert and stubborn it 
may seem. If a heap of metal be not capable of 
originating a thought of its own, yet, through its 
internal susceptibility to movement, it obtains 
the power to receive the thought of the intellec- 
tual agent at work on it ; and which, when con- 
veyed with a sufficient force of the vril power, it 


is as much compelled to obey as if it were dis- 
placed by a visible bodily force. It is animated 
for the time being by the soul thus infused into 
it, so that one may almost say that it lives and 
it reasons. Without this we could not make our 
automata supply the place of servants." 

I was too much in awe of the thews and the 
learning of the young Gy to hazard the risk of 
arguing with her. I had read somewhere in my 
schoolboy days that a wise man, disputing with 
a Roman emperor, suddenly drew in his horns; 
and when the emperor asked him whether he 
had nothing further to say on his side of the 
question, replied, "Nay, Csesar, there is no 
arguing against a reasoner who commands ten 

Though I had a secret persuasion that, what- 
ever the real effects of vril upon matter, Mr 
Faraday could have proved her a very shallow 
philosopher as to its extent or its causes, I had 
no doubt that Zee could have brained all the 
Fellows of the Royal Society, one after the other, 
with a blow of her fist. Every sensible man 
knows that it is useless to argue with any 


ordinary female upon matters he comprehends ; 
but to argue with a Gy seven feet high upon the 
mysteries of vril, — as well argue in a desert, and 
with a simoom ! 

Amid the various departments to which the 
vast building of the College of Sages was appro- 
priated, that which interested me most was 
devoted to the archaeology of the Vril-ya, and 
comprised a very ancient collection of portraits. 
In these the pigments and groundwork employed 
were of so durable a nature that even pic- 
tures said to be executed at dates as remote 
as those in the earliest annals of the Chinese, 
retained much freshness of colour. In examining 
this collection, two things especially struck me : 
— 1st, That the pictures said to be between 6000 
and 7000 years old were of a much higher 
degree of art than any produced within the last 
3000 or 4000 years; and, 2d, That the por- 
traits within the former period much more 
resembled our own upper world and European 
types of countenance. Some of them, indeed, 
reminded me of the Italian heads which look out 
from the canvas of Titian — speaking of ambi- 


tion or craft, of care or of grief, with furrows 
in which the passions have passed with iron 
ploughshare. These were the countenances of 
men who had lived in struggle and conflict 
before the discovery of the latent forces of vril 
had changed the character of society — men who 
had fought with each other for power or fame as 
we in the upper world fight. 

The type of face began to evince a marked 
change about a thousand years after the vril 
revolution, becoming then, with each generation, 
more serene, and in that serenity more terribly 
distinct from the faces of labouring and sinful 
men ; while in proportion as the beauty and the 
grandeur of the countenance itself became more 
fully developed, the art of the painter became 
more tame and monotonous. 

But the greatest curiosity in the collection 
was that of three portraits belonging to the 
pre-historical age, and, according to mythical 
tradition, taken by the orders of a philosopher, 
whose origin and attributes were as much mixed 
up with symbolical fable as those of an Indian 
Budh or a Greek Prometheus. 


From this mysterious personage, at once a 
sage and a hero, all the principal sections of the 
Vril-ya race pretend to trace a common origin. 

The portraits are of the philosopher himself, 
of his grandfather, and great-grandfather. They 
are all at full length. The philosopher is attired 
in a long tunic which seems to form a loose suit 
of scaly armour, borrowed, perhaps, from some 
fish or reptile, but the feet and hands are exposed : 
the digits in both are wonderfully long, and 
webbed. He has little or no perceptible throat, 
and a low receding forehead, not at all the ideal 
of a sage's. He has bright brown prominent 
eyes, a very wide mouth and high cheek-bones, 
and a muddy complexion. According to tradi- 
tion, this philosopher had lived to a patriarchal 
age, extending over many centuries, and he re- 
membered distinctly in middle life his grand- 
father as surviving, and in childhood his great- 
grandfather; the portrait of the first he had taken, 
or caused to be taken, while yet alive — that of 
the latter was taken from his effigies in mummy. 
The portrait of the grandfather had the features 
and aspect of the philosopher, only much more 


exaggerated : he was not dressed, and the colour 
of his body was singular ; the breast and stomach 
yellow, the shoulders and legs of a dull bronze 
hue : the great-grandfather was a magnificent 
specimen of the Batrachian genus, a Giant Frog, 
pur et simple. 

Among the pithy sayings which, according to 
tradition, the philosopher bequeathed to posterity 
in rhythmical form and sententious brevity, this 
is notably recorded : "Humble yourselves, my 
descendants ; the father of your race was a twat 
(tadpole) : exalt yourselves, my descendants, for 
it was the same Divine Thought which created 
your father that develops itself in exalting 

Aph-Lin told me this fable while I gazed on 
the three Batrachian portraits. I said in reply : 
" You make a jest of my supposed ignorance and 
credulity as an uneducated Tish, but though 
these horrible daubs may be of great antiquity, 
and were intended, perhaps, for some rude cari- 
cature, I presume that none of your race, even in 
the less enlightened ages, ever believed that the 
great-grandson of a Frog became a sententious 


philosopher ; or that any section, I will not say 
of the lofty Vril-ya, but of the meanest varieties 
of the human race, had its origin in a Tadpole." 

" Pardon me," answered Aph-Lin : " in what 
we call the Wrangling or Philosophical Period 
of History, which was at its height about seven 
thousand years ago, there was a very distinguished 
naturalist, who proved to the satisfaction of numer- 
ous disciples such analogical and anatomical agree- 
ments in structure between an An and a Frog, as 
to show that out of the one must have developed 
the other. They had some diseases in common ; 
they were both subject to the same parasitical 
worms in the intestines ; and, strange to say, the 
An has, in his structure, a swimming-bladder, no 
longer of any use to him, but which is a rudi- 
ment that clearly proves his descent from a Frog. 
Nor is there any argument against this theory to 
be found in the relative difference of size, for 
there are still existent in our world Frogs of a 
size and stature not inferior to our own, and 
many thousand years ago they appear to have 
been still larger." 

" I understand that," said I, " because Frogs 


thus enormous are, according to our eminent 
geologists, who perhaps saw them in dreams, said 
to have been distinguished inhabitants of the 
upper world before the Deluge ; and such Frogs 
are exactly the creatures likely to have flourished 
in the lakes and morasses of your subterranean 
regions. But pray, proceed." 

" In the Wrangling Period of History, whatever 
one sage asserted another sage was sure to contra- 
dict. In fact, it was a maxim in that age, that 
the human reason could only be sustained aloft by 
being tossed to and fro in the perpetual motion 
of contradiction ; and therefore another sect of 
philosophers maintained the doctrine that the An 
was not the descendant of the Frog, but that the 
Frog was clearly the improved development of 
the An. The shape of the Frog, taken generally, 
was much more symmetrical than that of the An ; 
beside the beautiful conformation of its lower 
limbs, its flanks and shoulders, the majority of 
the Ana in that day were almost deformed, and 
certainly ill-shaped. Again, the Frog had the 
power to live alike on land and in water — a 
mighty privilege, partaking of a spiritual essence 


denied to the An, since the disuse of his swim- 
ming - bladder clearly proves his degeneration 
from a higher development of species. Again, 
the earlier races of the Ana seem to have been 
covered with hair, and, even to a comparatively 
recent date, hirsute bushes deformed the very 
faces of our ancestors, spreading wild over their 
cheeks and chins, as similar bushes, my poor 
Tish, spread wild over yours. But the object of 
the higher races of the Ana through countless 
generations has been to erase all vestige of 
connection with hairy vertebrata, and they have 
gradually eliminated that debasing capillary 
excrement by the law of sexual selection; the 
Gy-ei naturally preferring youth or the beauty 
of smooth faces. But the degree of the Frog in 
the scale of the vertebrata is shown in this, that 
he has no hair at all, not even on his head. He 
was born to that hairless perfection which the 
most beautiful of the Ana, despite the culture of 
incalculable ages, have not yet attained. The 
wonderful complication and delicacy of a Frog's 
nervous system and arterial circulation were 
shown by this school to be more susceptible of 


enjoyment than our inferior, or at least simpler, 
physical frame allows us to be. The examination 
of a Frog's hand, if I may use that expression, 
accounted for its keener susceptibility to love, 
and to social life in general. In fact, gregarious 
and amatory as are the Ana, Frogs are still more 
so. In short, these two schools raged against 
each other ; one asserting the An to be the per- 
fected type of the Frog ; the other that the Frog 
was the highest development of the An. The 
moralists were divided in opinion with the natur- 
alists, but the bulk of them sided with the Frog- 
preference school. They said, with much plausi- 
bility, that in moral conduct (viz., in the adher- 
ence to rules best adapted to the health and 
welfare of the individual and the community) 
there could be no doubt of the vast superiority of 
the Frog. All history showed the wholesale im- 
morality of the human race, the complete disre- 
gard, even by the most renowned amongst them, 
of the laws which they acknowledged to be 
essential to their own and the general happiness 
and wellbcing. But the severest critic of the 
Frog race could not detect in their manners a 


single aberration from the moral law tacitly 
recognised by themselves. And what, after all, 
can be the profit of civilisation if superiority in 
moral conduct be not the aim for which it 
strives, and the test by which its progress should 
be judged 1 

" In fine, the adherents to this theory presumed 
that in some remote period the Frog race had 
been the improved development of the Human ; 
but that, from some causes which defied rational 
conjecture, they had not maintained their ori- 
ginal position in the scale of nature ; while the 
Ana, though of inferior organisation, had, by 
dint less of their virtues than their vices, such as 
ferocity and cunning, gradually acquired ascend- 
ancy, much as among the human race itself tribes 
utterly barbarous have, by superiority in similar 
vices, utterly destroyed or reduced into insigni- 
ficance tribes originally excelling them in mental 
gifts and culture. Unhappily these disputes 
became involved with the religious notions of 
that age ; and as society was then administered 
under the government of the Koom-Posh, who, 
being the most ignorant, were of course the 


most inflammable class — the multitude took the 
whole question out of the hands of the philoso- 
phers ; political chiefs saw that the Frog dispute, 
so taken up by the populace, could become a most 
valuable instrument of their ambition ; and for 
not less than one thousand years war and mas- 
sacre prevailed, during which period the philo- 
sophers on both sides were butchered, and the 
government of the Koom-Posh itself was happily 
brought to an end by the ascendancy of a family 
that clearly established its descent from the 
aboriginal tadpole, and furnished despotic rulers 
to the various nations of the Ana. These despots 
finally disappeared, at least from our communities, 
as the discovery of vril led to the tranquil in- 
stitutions under which flourish all the races of 
the Vril-ya." 

"And do no wranglers or philosophers now 
exist to revive the dispute ; or do they all recog- 
nise the origin of your race in the tadpole ? " 

" Nay, such disputes," said Zee, with a lofty 
smile, " belong to the Pah-bodh of the dark ages, 
and now only serve for the amusement of infants. 
When we know the elements out of which our 


bodies are composed, elements common to the 
humblest vegetable plants, can it signify whether 
the All-Wise combined those elements out of one 
form more than another, in order to create that 
in which He has placed the capacity to receive 
the idea of Himself, and all the varied grandeurs 
of intellect to which that idea gives birth % The 
An in reality commenced to exist as An with the 
donation of that capacity, and, with that capa- 
city, the sense to acknowledge that, however 
through the countless ages his race may improve 
in wisdom, it can never combine the elements at 
its command into the form of a tadpole." 

"You speak well, Zee," said Aph-Lin ; " and 
it is enough for us shortlived mortals to feel a 
reasonable assurance that whether the origin of 
the An was a tadpole or not, he is no more likely 
to become a tadpole again than the institutions 
of the Vril-ya are likely to relapse into the heav- 
ing quagmire and certain strife-rot of a Koom- 



The Vril-ya, being excluded from all sight of the 
heavenly bodies, and having no other difference 
between night and day than that which they 
deem it convenient to make for themselves, — do 
not, of course, arrive at their divisions of time by 
the same process that we do ; but I found it easy, 
by the aid of my watch, which I luckily had 
about me, to compute their time with great 
nicety. I reserve for a future work on the science 
and literature of the Vril-ya, should I live to 
complete it, all details as to the manner in which 
they arrive at their rotation of time ; and con- 
tent myself here with saying, that in point of 
duration, their year differs very slightly from 
ours, but that the divisions of their year are by 
no means the same. Their day (including what 
we call night) consists of twenty hours of our 



time, instead of twenty-four, and of course their 
year comprises the correspondent increase in the 
number of days by which it is summed up. They 
subdivide the twenty hours of their day thus — 
eight hours,"" called the " Silent Hours," for re- 
pose ; eight hours, called the " Earnest Time," for 
the pursuits and occupations of life ; and four 
hours, called the " Easy Time " (with which what 
I may term their day closes), allotted to festivi- 
ties, sport, recreation, or family converse, accord- 
ing to their several tastes and inclinations. But, 
in truth, out of doors there is no night. They 
maintain, both in the streets and in the surround- 
ing country, to the limits of their territory, the 
same degree of light at all hours. Only, within 
doors, they lower it to a soft twilight during the 
Silent Hours. They have a great horror of per- 
fect darkness, and their lights are never wholly 
extinguished. On occasions of festivity they 
continue the duration of full light, but equally 
keep note of the distinction between night and 

* For the sake of convenience, I adopt the words hours, days, 
years, &c, in any general reference to subdivisions of time 
among the Vril-ya — those terms but loosely corresponding, how- 
ever, with such subdivisions. 


day, by mechanical contrivances which answer 
the purpose of our clocks and watches. They 
are very fond of music ; and it is by music that 
these chronometers strike the principal division 
of time. At every one of their hours, during 
their day, the sounds coming from all the time- 
pieces in their public buildings, and caught up, 
as it were, by those of houses or hamlets scattered 
amidst the landscapes without the city, have 
an effect singularly sweet, and yet singularly 
solemn. But during the Silent Hours these 
sounds are so subdued as to be only faintly heard 
by a waking ear. They have no change of sea- 
sons, and, at least on the territory of this tribe, 
the atmosphere seemed to me very equable, 
warm as that of an Italian summer, and humid 
rather than dry ; in the forenoon usually very 
still, but at times invaded by strong blasts from 
the rocks that made the borders of their domain. 
But time is the same to them for sowing or reap- 
ing as in the Golden Isles of the ancient poets. 
At the same moment you see the younger plants 
in blade or bud, the older in ear or fruit. All 
fruit-bearing plants, however, after fruitage, either 


shed or change the colour of their leaves. But 
that which interested me most in reckoning up 
their divisions of time was the ascertainment of 
the average duration of life amongst them. I 
found on minute inquiry that this very consider- 
ably exceeded the term allotted to us on the 
upper earth. "What seventy years are to us, one 
hundred years are to them. Nor is this the only 
advantage they have over us in longevity, for as 
few among us attain to the age of seventy, so, on 
the contrary, few among them die before the age 
of one hundred ; and they enjoy a general degree 
of health and vigour which makes life itself a 
blessing even to the last. Various causes contri- 
bute to this result : the absence of all alcoholic 
stimulants ; temperance in food ; more especially, 
perhaps, a serenity of mind undisturbed by anx- 
ious occupations and eager passions. They are 
not tormented by our avarice or our ambition ; 
they appear perfectly indifferent even to the 
desire of fame ; they are capable of great affection, 
but their love shows itself in a tender and cheer- 
ful complaisance, and, while forming their happi- 
ness, seems rarely, if ever, to constitute their woe. 


As the Gy is sure only to marry where she her- 
self fixes her choice, and as here, not less than 
above ground, it is the female on whom the 
happiness of home depends ; so the Gy, having 
chosen the mate she prefers to all others, is len- 
ient to his faults, consults his humours, and does 
her best to secure his attachment. The death of 
a beloved one is of course with them, as with us, 
a cause of sorrow ; but not only is death with 
them so much more rare before that age in which 
it becomes a release, but when it does occur the 
survivor takes much more consolation than, I am 
afraid, the generality of us do, in the certainty of 
reunion in another and yet happier life. 

All these causes, then, concur to their health- 
ful and enjoyable longevity, though, no doubt, 
much also must be owing to hereditary organi- 
sation. According to their records, however, in 
those earlier stages of their society when they 
lived in communities resembling ours, agitated 
by fierce competition, their lives were consider- 
ably shorter, and their maladies more numerous 
and grave. They themselves say that the dura- 
tion of life, too, has increased, and is still on the 


increase, since their discovery of the invigorating 
and medicinal properties of vril, applied for reme- 
dial purposes. They have few professional and 
regular practitioners of medicine, and these are 
chiefly Gy-ei, who, especially if widowed and 
childless, find great delight in the healing art, 
and even undertake surgical operations in those 
cases required by accident, or, more rarely, by 

They have their diversions and entertain- 
ments, and, during the Easy Time of their day, 
they are wont to assemble in great numbers 
for those winged sports in the air which I 
have already described. They have also public 
halls for music, and even theatres, at which are 
performed pieces that appeared to me somewhat 
to resemble the plays of the Chinese — dramas 
that are thrown back into distant times for their 
events and personages, in which all classic unities 
are outrageously violated, and the hero, in one 
scene a child, in the next is an old man, and 
so forth. These plays are of very ancient com- 
position, and their stories cast in remote times. 
They appeared to me very dull, on the whole, 


but were relieved by startling mechanical contri- 
vances, and a kind of farcical broad humour, and 
detached passages of great vigour and power ex- 
pressed in language highly poetical, but some- 
what overcharged with metaphor and trope. In 
fine, they seemed to me very much what the 
plays of Shakespeare seemed to a Parisian in the 
time of Louis XV., or perhaps to an Englishman 
in the reign of Charles II. 

The audience, of which the Gy-ei constituted 
the chief portion, appeared to enjoy greatly the 
representation of these dramas, which, for so 
sedate and majestic a race of females, surprised 
me, till I observed that all the performers were 
under the age of adolescence, and conjectured 
truly that the mothers and sisters came to please 
their children and brothers. 

I have said that these dramas are of great 
antiquity. No new plays, indeed no imaginative 
works sufficiently important to survive their im- 
mediate day, appear to have been composed for 
several generations. In fact, though there is no 
lack of new publications, and they have even 
what may be called newspapers, these are chiefly 


devoted to mechanical science, reports of new 
inventions, announcements respecting various de- 
tails of business — in short, to practical matters. 
Sometimes a child writes a little tale of adventure, 
or a young Gy vents her amorous hopes or fears 
in a poem ; but these effusions are of very little 
merit, and are seldom read except by children 
and maiden Gy-ei. The most interesting works 
of a purely literary character are those of ex- 
plorations and travels into other regions of this 
nether world, which are generally written by 
young emigrants, and are read with great avid- 
ity by the relations and friends they have left 

I could not help expressing to Aph-Lin my 
surprise that a community in which mechanical 
science had made so marvellous a progress, and 
in which intellectual civilisation had exhibited 
itself in realising those objects for the happiness 
of the people, which the political philosophers 
above ground had, after ages of struggle, pretty 
generally agreed to consider unattainable visions, 
should, nevertheless, be so wholly without a con- 
temporaneous literature, despite the excellence to 


which culture had brought a language at once 
rich and simple, vigorous and musical. 

My host replied — " Do you not perceive that 
a literature such as you mean would be wholly 
incompatible with that perfection of social or 
political felicity at which you do us the honour 
to think we have arrived \ We have at last, 
after centuries of struggle, settled into a form of 
government with which we are content, and in 
which, as we allow no differences of rank, and no 
honours are paid to administrators distinguishing 
them from others, there is no stimulus given to 
individual ambition. No one would read works 
advocating theories that involved any political 
or social change, and therefore no one writes 
them. If now and then an An feels himself 
dissatisfied with our tranquil mode of life, he 
does not attack it; he goes away. Thus all 
that part of literature (and to judge by 
the ancient books in our public libraries, it 
was once a very large part) which relates to 
speculative theories on society is become utterly 
extinct. Again, formerly there was a vast deal 
written respecting the attributes and essence of 


tlie All-Good, and the arguments for and against 
a future state ; but now we all recognise two 
facts, that there is a Divine Being, and there is a 
future state, and we all equally agree that if we 
wrote our fingers to the bone, we could not 
throw any light upon the nature and conditions 
of that future state, or quicken our apprehensions 
of the attributes and essence of that Divine 
Being. Thus another part of literature has 
become also extinct, happily for our race; for in 
the times when so much was written on subjects 
which no one could determine, people seemed to 
live in a perpetual state of quarrel and conten- 
tion. So, too, a vast part of our ancient litera- 
ture consists of historical records of wars and 
revolutions during the times when the Ana lived 
in large and turbulent societies, each seeking 
aggrandisement at the expense of the other. You 
see our serene mode of life now ; such it has 
been for ages. We have no events to chronicle. 
What more of us can be said than that ' they 
were born, they were happy, they died ? ' 
Coming next to that part of literature which is 
more under the control of the imagination, such 


as what we call Glaubsila, or colloquially 'Glaubs,' 
and you call poetry, the reasons for its decline 
amongst us are abundantly obvious. 

"We find, by referring to the great masterpieces 
in that department of literature which we all still 
read with pleasure, but of which none would 
tolerate imitations, that they consist in the por- 
traiture of passions which we no longer experi- 
ence — ambition, vengeance, unhallowed love, the 
thirst for warlike renown, and suchlike. The 
old poets lived in an atmosphere impregnated 
with these passions, and felt vividly what they 
expressed glowingly. No one can express such 
passions now, for no one can feel them, or meet 
with any sympathy in his readers if he did. 
Again, the old poetry has a main element in its 
dissection of those complex mysteries of human 
character which conduce to abnormal vices and 
crimes, or lead to signal and extraordinary 
virtues. But our society, having got rid of 
temptations to any prominent vices and crimes, 
has necessarily rendered the moral average so 
equal, that there are no very salient virtues. 
Without its ancient food of strong passions, 


vast crimes, heroic excellences, poetry therefore 
is, if not actually starved to death, reduced to a 
very meagre diet. There is still the poetry of 
description — description of rocks, and trees, and 
waters, and common household life; and our 
young Gy-ei weave much of this insipid kind of 
composition into their love verses." 

" Such poetry," said I, " might surely be made 
very charming ; and we have critics amongst us 
who consider it a higher kind than that which 
depicts the crimes, or analyses the passions, of 
man. At all events, poetry of the insipid kind 
you mention is a poetry that nowadays commands 
more readers than any other among the people I 
have left above ground." 

" Possibly ; but then I suppose the writers take 
great pains with the language they employ, and 
devote themselves to the culture and polish of 
words and rhythms as an art \ " 

" Certainly they do : all great poets must do 
that. Though the gift of poetry may be inborn, 
the gift requires as much care to make it avail- 
able as a block of metal does to be made into one 
of your engines." 


"And doubtless your poets have some incen- 
tive to bestow all those pains upon such verbal 
prettinesses ? " 

" Well, I presume their instinct of song 
would make them sing as the bird does ; but 
to cultivate the song into verbal or artificial pret- 
tiness, probably does need an inducement from 
without, and our. poets find it in the love of 
fame — perhaps, now and then, in the want of 

" Precisely so. But in our society we attach 
fame to nothing which man, in that moment of 
his duration which is called 'life,' can perform. 
We should soon lose that equality which con- 
stitutes the felicitous essence of our common- 
wealth if we selected any individual for pre- 
eminent praise : pre-eminent praise would con- 
fer pre - eminent power, and the moment it 
were given, evil passions, now dormant, would 
awake ; other men would immediately covet 
praise, then would arise envy, and with envy 
hate, and with hate calumny and persecution. 
Our history tells us that most of the poets and 
most of the writers who, in the old time, were 


favoured with the greatest praise, were also 
assailed by the greatest vituperation, and even, on 
the whole, rendered very unhappy, partly by the 
attacks of jealous rivals, partly by the diseased 
mental constitution which an acquired sensitive- 
ness to praise and to blame tends to engender. 
As for the stimulus of want ; in the first place, 
no man in our community knows the goad of 
poverty; and, secondly, if he did, almost every 
occupation would be more lucrative than writ- 

" Our public libraries contain all the books of 
the past which time has preserved ; those books, 
for the reasons above stated, are infinitely better 
than any can write nowadays, and they are 
open to all to read without cost. We are not 
such fools as to pay for reading inferior books, 
when we can read superior books for nothing/' 

" With us, novelty has an attraction ; and a new 
book, if bad, is read when an old book, though 
good, is neglected." 

"Novelty, to barbarous states of society 
struggling in despair for something better, has 
no doubt an attraction, denied to us, who see 


nothing to gain in novelties; but, after all, it 
is observed by one of our great authors four 
thousand years ago, that 'he who studies old 
books will always find in them something new, 
and he who reads new books will always find in 
them something old.' But to return to the 
question you have raised, there being then 
amongst us no stimulus to painstaking labour, 
whether in desire of fame or in pressure of want, 
such as have the poetic temperament, no doubt, 
vent it in song, as you say the bird sings j but 
for lack of elaborate culture it fails of an audi- 
ence, and, failing of an audience, dies out, of 
itself, amidst the ordinary avocations of life." 

"But how is it that these discouragements 
to the cultivation of literature do not operate 
against that of science ? " 

"Your question amazes me. The motive to 
science is the love of truth apart from all con- 
sideration of fame, and science with us too is 
devoted almost solely to practical uses, essential 
to our social conservation and the comforts of 
our daily life. No fame is asked by the inventor, 
and none is given to him ; he enjoys an occupa- 


tion congenial to his tastes, and needing no wear 
and tear of the passions. Man must have ex- 
ercise for his mind as well as body; and con- 
tinuous exercise, rather than violent, is best for 
both. Our most ingenious cultivators of science 
are, as a general rule, the longest lived and the 
most free from disease. Painting is an amusement 
to many, but the art is not what it was in former 
times, when the great painters in our various 
communities vied with each other for the prize 
of a golden crown, which gave them a social rank 
equal to that of the kings under whom they 
lived. You will thus doubtless have observed in 
our archaeological department how superior in 
point of art the pictures were several thousand 
years ago. Perhaps it is because music is, in 
reality, more allied to science than it is to poetry, 
that, of all the pleasurable arts, music is that 
which nourishes the most amongst us. Still, 
even in music the absence of stimulus in praise or 
fame has served to prevent any great superiority 
of one individual over another ; and we rather 
excel in choral music, with the aid of our vast 
mechanical instruments, in which we make great 


use of the agency of water,* than in single per- 
formers. We have had scarcely any original 
composer for some ages. Our favourite airs are 
very ancient in substance, but have admitted 
many complicated variations by inferior, though 
ingenious, musicians." 

"Are there no political societies among the 
Ana which are animated by those passions, sub- 
jected to those crimes, and admitting those dis- 
parities in condition, in intellect, and in moral- 
ity, which the state of your tribe, or indeed of 
the Vril-ya generally, has left behind in its pro- 
gress to perfection ? If so, among such societies 
perhaps Poetry and her sister arts still continue 
to be honoured and to improve 1 " 

" There are such societies in remote regions, 
but we do not admit them within the pale of 
civilised communities ; we scarcely even give 
them the name of Ana, and certainly not that 
of Vril-ya. They are savages, living chiefly in 

* This may remind the student of Nero's invention of a 
musical machine, by which water was made to perform the part 
of an orchestra, and on which he was employed when the con- 
spiracy against him broke out. 


that low stage of being, Koom - Posh, tending 
necessarily to its own hideous dissolution in 
Glek-Nas. Their wretched existence is passed 
in perpetual contest and perpetual change. When 
they do not fight with their neighbours, they 
fight among themselves. They are divided into 
sections, which abuse, plunder, and sometimes 
murder each other, and on the most frivolous 
points of difference that would be unintelligible 
to us if we had not read history, and seen that 
we too have passed through the same early state 
of ignorance and barbarism. Any trifle is suffi- 
cient to set them together by the ears. They 
pretend to be all equals, and the more they 
have struggled to be so, by removing old dis- 
tinctions and starting afresh, the more glaring 
and intolerable the disparity becomes, because 
nothing in hereditary affections and associa- 
tions is left to soften the one naked distinc- 
tion between the many who have nothing and 
the few who have much. Of course the many 
hate the few, but without the few they could 
not live. The many are always assailing 
the few ; sometimes they exterminate the few ; 


but as soon as they have done so, a new few 
starts out of the many, and is harder to deal 
with than the old few. For where societies 
are large, and competition to have something is 
the predominant fever, there must be always 
many losers and few gainers. In short, they are 
savages groping their way in the dark towards 
some gleam of light, and would demand our com- 
miseration for their infirmities, if, like all savages, 
they did not provoke their own destruction by 
their arrogance and cruelty. Can you imagine 
that creatures of this kind, armed only with such 
miserable weapons as you may see in our museum 
of antiquities, clumsy iron tubes charged with 
saltpetre, have more than once threatened with 
destruction a tribe of the Vril-ya, which dwells 
nearest to them, because they say they have 
thirty millions of population — and that tribe 
may have fifty thousand — if the latter do not 
accept their notions of Soc-Sec (money-getting) 
on some trading principles which they have the 
impudence to call a ' law of civilisation 1 ' 

" But thirty millions of population are formid- 
able odds against fifty thousand ! " 


My host stared at me astonished. " Stranger," 
said he, " you could not have heard me say that 
this threatened tribe belongs to the Vril-ya ; and 
it only waits for these savages to declare war, in 
order to commission some half - a - dozen small 
children to sweep away their whole population." 

At these words I felt a thrill of horror, recog- 
nising much more affinity with "the savages" 
than I did with the Vril-ya, and remembering 
all I had said in praise of the glorious Ameri- 
can institutions, which Aph-Lin stigmatised as 
Koom-Posh. Kecovering my self-possession, I 
asked if there were modes of transit by which 
I could safely visit this temerarious and remote 

" You can travel with safety, by vril agency, 
either along the ground or amid the air, 
throughout all the range of the communities with 
which we are allied and akin ; but I cannot 
vouch for your safety in barbarous nations gov- 
erned by different laws from ours ; nations, indeed, 
so benighted, that there are among them large 
numbers who actually live by stealing from each 
other, and one could not with safety in the Silent 


Hours even leave the doors of one's own house 

Here our conversation was interrupted by the 
entrance of Tae, who came to inform us that he, 
having been deputed to discover and destroy the 
enormous reptile which I had seen on my first 
arrival, had been on the watch for it ever since 
his visit to me, and had begun to suspect that 
my eyes had deceived me, or that the creature 
had made its way through the cavities within the 
rocks to the wild regions in which dwelt its kin- 
dred race, — when it gave evidences of its where- 
abouts by a great devastation of the herbage 
bordering one of the lakes. "And," said Tae, 
" I feel sure that within that lake it is now hid- 
ing. So " (turning to me) " I thought it might 
amuse you to accompany me to see the way we 
destroy such unpleasant visitors." As I looked 
at the face of the young child, and called to mind 
the enormous size of the creature he proposed to 
exterminate, I felt myself shudder with fear for 
him, and perhaps fear for myself, if I accompanied 
him in such a chase. But my curiosity to witness 
the destructive effects of the boasted vril, and my 


unwillingness to lower myself in the eyes of an 
infant by betraying apprehensions of personal 
safety, prevailed over my first impulse. Accord- 
ingly, I thanked Tae for his courteous consi- 
deration for my amusement, and professed my 
willingness to set out with him on so diverting 
an enterprise. 

1 67 


As Tae and myself, on quitting the town, and 
leaving to the left the main road which led to 
it, struck into the fields, the strange and solemn 
beauty of the landscape, lighted up, by number- 
less lamps, to the verge of the horizon, fascinated 
my eyes, and rendered me for some time an 
inattentive listener to the talk of my companion. 
Along our way various operations of agricul- 
ture were being carried on by machinery, the 
forms of which were new to me, and for the most 
part very graceful ; for among these people art 
being so cultivated for the sake of mere utility, 
exhibits itself in adorning or refining the shapes 
of useful objects. Precious metals and gems are 
so profuse among them, that they are lavished 
on things devoted to purposes the most common- 
place ; and their love of utility leads them to 


beautify its tools, and quickens their imagination 
in a way unknown to themselves. 

In all service, whether in or out of doors, they 
make great use of automaton figures, which are 
so ingenious, and so pliant to the operations of 
vril, that they actually seem gifted with reason. 
It was scarcely possible to distinguish the figures 
I beheld, apparently guiding or superintending 
the rapid movements of vast engines, from human 
forms endowed with thought. 

By degrees, as we continued to walk on, my 
attention became roused by the lively and acute 
remarks of my companion. The intelligence of 
the children among this race is marvellously 
precocious, perhaps from the habit of having in- 
trusted to them, at so early an age, the toils and 
responsibilities of middle age. Indeed, in con- 
versing with Tae, I felt as if talking with some 
superior and observant man of my own years. I 
asked him if he could form any estimate of the 
number of communities into which the race of 
the Vril-ya is subdivided. 

" Not exactly," he said, " because they multi- 
ply, of course, every year as the surplus of each 


community is drafted off. But I heard my 
father say that, according to the last report, there 
were a million and a half of communities speak- 
ing our language, and adopting our institutions 
and forms of life and government ; but, I believe, 
with some differences, about which you had better 
ask Zee. She knows more than most of the 
Ana do. An An cares less for things that do 
not concern him than a Gy does ; the Gy-ei are 
inquisitive creatures." 

"Does each community restrict itself to the 
same number of families or amount of population 
that you do ? " 

" No ; some have much smaller populations, 
some have larger — varying according to the 
extent of the country they appropriate, or to the 
degree of excellence to which they have brought 
their machinery. Each community sets its own 
limit according to circumstances, taking care 
always that there shall never arise any class of 
poor by the pressure of population upon the pro- 
ductive powers of the domain ; and that no state 
shall be too large for a government resembling 
that of a single well-ordered family. I imagine 


that no Vril community exceeds thirty thousand 
households. But, as a general rule, the smaller 
the community, provided there be hands enough 
to do justice to the capacities of the territory it 
occupies, the richer each individual is, and the 
larger the sum contributed to the general treas- 
ury, — above all, the happier and the more tran- 
quil is the whole political body, and the more 
perfect the products of its industry. The state 
which all tribes of the Vril-ya acknowledge 
to be the highest in civilisation, and which 
has brought the vril force to its fullest develop- 
ment, is perhaps the smallest. It limits itself 
to four thousand families ; but every inch of its 
territory is cultivated to the utmost perfection 
of garden ground ; its machinery excels that of 
every other tribe, and there is no product of 
its industry in any department which is not 
sought for, at extraordinary prices, by each com- 
munity of our race. All our tribes make this 
state their model, considering that we should 
reach the highest state of civilisation allowed to 
mortals if we could unite the greatest degree of 
happiness with the highest degree of intellectual 


achievement ; and it is clear that the smaller the 
society the less difficult that will be. Ours is too 
large for it." 

This reply set me thinking. I reminded my- 
self of that little state of Athens, with only twenty 
thousand free citizens, and which to this day our 
mightiest nations regard as the supreme guide 
and model in all departments of intellect. But 
then Athens permitted fierce rivalry and per- 
petual change, and was certainly not happy. 
Housing myself from the reverie into which these 
reflections had plunged me, I brought back our 
talk to the subjects connected with emigration. 

" But," said I, " when, I suppose yearly, a cer- 
tain number among you agree to quit home and 
found a new community elsewhere, they must 
necessarily be very few, and scarcely sufficient, 
even with the help of the machines they take 
with them, to clear the ground, and build towns, 
and form a civilised state with the comforts and 
luxuries in which they had been reared." 

" You mistake. All the tribes of the Vril-ya 
are in constant communication with each other, 
and settle amongst themselves each year what 


proportion of one community will unite with the 
emigrants of another, so as to form a state of 
sufficient size ; and the place for emigration is 
agreed upon at least a year before, and pioneers 
sent from each state to level rocks, and embank 
waters, and construct houses ; so that when the 
emigrants at last go, they find a city already 
made, and a country around it at least partially 
cleared. Our hardy life as children makes us 
take cheerfully to travel and adventure. I mean 
to emigrate myself when of age." 

"Do the emigrants always select places hitherto 
uninhabited and barren \ " 

" As yet generally, because it is our rule never 
to destroy except where necessary to our well- 
being. Of course, we cannot settle in lands 
already occupied by the Vril-ya ; and if we take 
the cultivated lands of the other races of Ana, we 
must utterly destroy the previous inhabitants. 
Sometimes, as it is, we take waste spots, and find 
that a troublesome, quarrelsome race of Ana, 
especially if under the administration of Koom- 
Posh or Glek-Nas, resents our vicinity, and picks 
a quarrel with us ; then, of course, as menacing 


our welfare, we destroy it : there is no coming to 
terms of peace with a race so idiotic that it is 
always changing the form of government which 
represents it. Koom-Posh," said the child, em- 
phatically, " is bad enough, still it has brains, 
though at the back of its head, and is not without 
a heart ; but in Glek-Nas the brain and heart of 
the creatures disappear, and they become all jaws, 
claws, and belly." 

" You express yourself strongly. Allow me to 
inform you that I myself, and I am proud to say 
it, am the citizen of a Koom-Posh." 

" I no longer," answered Tae, " wonder to see 
you here so far from your home. What was the 
condition of your native community before it 
became a Koom-Posh ? " 

" A settlement of emigrants — like those settle- 
ments which your tribe sends forth — but so far 
unlike your settlements, that it was dependent on 
the state from which it came. It shook off that 
yoke, and, crowned with eternal glory, became a 

" Eternal glory ! how long has the Koom- 
Posh lasted ? " 


"About 100 years." 

"The length of an An's life — a very young 
community. In much less than another 100 
years your Koom-Posh will be a Glek-Nas." 

" Nay, the oldest states in the world I come 
from, have such faith in its duration, that they 
are all gradually shaping their institutions so as 
to melt into ours, and their most thoughtful poli- 
ticians say that, whether they like it or not, the 
inevitable tendency of these old states is towards 

" The old states ? " 

" Yes, the old states." 

" With populations very small in proportion to 
the area of productive land 1 " 

" On the contrary, with populations very large 
in proportion to that area." 

" I see ! old states indeed ! — so old as to become 
drivelling if they don't pack off that surplus 
population as we do ours — very old states ! — very, 
very old ! Pray, Tish, do you think it wise for 
very old men to try to turn head-over-heels as very 
young children do ? And if you asked them why 
they attempted such antics,, should you not laugh 


if they answered that by imitating very young 
children they could become very young chil- 
dren themselves \ Ancient history abounds with 
instances of this sort a great many thousand 
years ago— and in every instance a very old 
state that played at Koom-Posh soon tumbled 
into Glek-Nas. Then, in horror of its own self, 
it cried out for a master, as an old man in his 
dotage cries out for a nurse ; and after a succes- 
sion of masters or nurses, more or less long, that 
very old state died out of history. A very old 
state attempting Koom-Posh- erie is like a very 
old man who pulls down the house to which he 
has been accustomed, but he has so exhausted 
his vigour in pulling down, that all he can do in 
the way of rebuilding is to run up a crazy hut, 
in which himself and his successors whine out, 
' How the wind blows ! How the walls shake ! ' " 
"My dear Tae, I make all excuse for your 
unenlightened prejudices, which every schoolboy 
educated in a Koom-Posh could easily controvert, 
though he might not be so precociously learned 
in ancient history as you appear to be." 

"I learned! not a bit of it. But would a 


schoolboy, educated in your Koom-Posh, ask his 
great - great - grandfather or great - great - grand- 
mother to stand on his or her head with the feet 
uppermost \ and if the poor old folks hesitated 
— say, ' What do you fear ? — see how I do it ! ' ' 

" Tae, I disdain to argue with a child of your age. 
I repeat, I make allowances for your want of that 
culture which a Koom-Posh alone can bestow." 

" I, in my turn," answered Tae, with an air of 
the suave but lofty good breeding which charac- 
terises his race, " not only make allowances for 
you as not educated among the Vril-ya, but I 
entreat you to vouchsafe me your pardon for in- 
sufficient respect to the habits and opinions of so 
amiable a — Tish ! " 

I ou^ht before to have observed that I was 
commonly called Tish by nvy host and his family, 
as being a polite and indeed a pet name, literally 
signifying a small barbarian ; the children apply 
it endearingly to the tame species of Frog which 
they keep in their gardens. 

We had now reached the banks of a lake, and 
Tae here paused to point out to me the ravages 
made in fields skirting it. " The enemy certainly 


lies within these waters," said Tae. " Observe 
what shoals of fish are crowded together at the 
margin. Even the great fishes with the small 
ones, who are their habitual prey and who gener- 
ally shun them, all forget their instincts in the 
presence of a common destroyer. This reptile 
certainly must belong to the class of Krek-a, 
which are more devouring than any other, and 
are said to be among the few surviving species of 
the world's dreadest inhabitants before the Ana 
were created. The appetite of a Krek is insati- 
able — it feeds alike upon vegetable and animal 
life ; but for the swift- footed creatures of the 
elk species it is too slow in its movements. Its 
favourite dainty is an An when it can catch him 
unawares ; and hence the Ana destroy it relent- 
lessly whenever it enters their dominion. I have 
heard that when our forefathers first cleared this 
country, these monsters, and others like them, 
abounded, and, vril being then undiscovered, 
many of our race were devoured. It was impos- 
sible to exterminate them wholly till that discov- 
ery which constitutes the power and sustains the 
civilisation of our race. But after the uses of 



vril became familiar to us, all creatures inimical 
to us were soon annihilated. Still, once a-year 
or so, one of these enormous creatures wanders 
from the unreclaimed and savage districts be- 
yond, and within my memory one seized upon a 
young Gy who was bathing in this very lake. 
Had she been on land and armed with her staff, it 
would not have dared even to show itself; for, 
like all savage creatures, the reptile has a marvel- 
lous instinct, which warns it against the bearer of 
the vril wand. How they teach their young to 
avoid him, though seen for the first time, is one 
of those mysteries which you may ask Zee to 
explain, for I cannot/'' So long as I stand here, 
the monster will not stir from its lurking-place ; 
but we must now decoy it forth." 

"Will not that be difficult V 

"Not at all. Seat yourself yonder on that 
crag (about one hundred yards from the bank), 
while I retire to a distance. In a short time the 

* The reptile in this instinct does but resemble our wild birds 
and animals, which will not come in reach of a man armed with 
a gun. AVhen the electric wires were first put up, partridges 
struck against them in their flight, and fell down wounded. No 
younger generations of partridges meet with a similar accident. 


reptile will catch sight or scent of you, and, per- 
ceiving that you are no vril-bearer, will come 
forth to devour you. As soon as it is fairly out 
of the water, it becomes my prey." 

" Do you mean to tell me that I am to be the 
decoy to that horrible monster which could engulf 
me within its jaws in a second ! I beg to decline." 

The child laughed. " Fear nothing," said he ; 
" only sit still." 

Instead of obeying this command, I made a 
bound, and was about to take fairly to my heels, 
when Tae touched me lightly on the shoulder, 
and, fixing his eyes steadily on mine, I was rooted 
to the spot. All power of volition left me. Sub- 
missive to the infant's gesture, I followed him to 
the crag he had indicated, and seated myself there 
in silence. Most readers have seen something of 
the effects of electro-biology, whether genuine or 
spurious. No professor of that doubtful craft had 
ever been able to influence a thought or a move- 
ment of mine, but I was a mere machine at the will 
of this terrible child. Meanwhile he expanded 
his wings, soared aloft, and alighted amidst a 
copse at the brow of a hill at some distance. 


I was alone ; and turning my eyes with an 
indescribable sensation of horror towards the lake, 
I kept them fixed on its water, spell-bound. It 
might be ten or fifteen minutes, to me it seemed 
ages, before the still surface, gleaming under the 
lamplight, began to be agitated towards the 
centre. At the same time the shoals of fish near 
the margin evinced their sense of the enemy's 
approach by splash and leap and bubbling circle. 
I could detect their hurried flight hither and 
thither, some even casting themselves ashore. A 
long, dark, undulous furrow came moving along 
the waters, nearer and nearer, till the vast head 
of the reptile emerged — its jaws bristling with 
fangs, and its dull eyes fixing themselves hungrily 
on the spot where I sat motionless. And now 
its fore feet were on the strand — now its enor- 
mous breast, scaled on either side as in armour, 
in the centre showing its corrugated skin of a 
dull venomous yellow ; and now its whole length 
was on the land, a hundred feet or more from the 
jaw to the tail. Another stride of those ghastly 
feet would have brought it to the spot where 
I sat. There was but a moment between me 


and this grim form of death, when what seemed 
a flash of lightning shot through the air, smote, 
and, for a space in time briefer than that in 
which a man can draw his breath, enveloped 
the monster; and then, as the flash vanished, 
there lay before me a blackened, charred, smoul- 
dering mass, a something gigantic, but of which 
even the outlines of form were burned away, and 
rapidly crumbling into dust and ashes. I re- 
mained still seated, still speechless, ice-cold with 
a new sensation of dread : what had been horror 
was now awe. 

I felt the child's hand on my head — fear left 
me — the spell was broken — I rose up. " You see 
with what ease the Vril-ya destroy their enemies," 
said Tae ; and then, moving towards the bank, he 
contemplated the smouldering relics of the mon- 
ster, and said quietly, " I have destroyed larger 
creatures, but none with so much pleasure. Yes, 
it is a Krek; what suffering it must have inflicted 
while it lived ! " Then he took up the poor fishes 
that had flung themselves ashore, and restored 
them mercifully to their native element. 



As we walked back to the town, Tae took a new 
and circuitous way, in order to show me what, 
to use a familiar term, I will call the ' Station/ 
from which emigrants or travellers to other com- 
munities commence their journeys. I had, on a 
former occasion, expressed a wish to see their 
vehicles. These I found to be of two kinds, one 
for land -journeys, one for aerial voyages: the 
former were of all sizes and forms, some not 
larger than an ordinary carriage, some movable 
houses of one story and containing several rooms, 
furnished according to the ideas of comfort or 
luxury which are entertained by the Vril-ya. The 
aerial vehicles were of light substances, not the 
least resembling our balloons, but rather our boats 
and pleasure- vessels, with helm and rudder, with 
large wings as paddles, and a central machine 


worked by vril. All the vehicles both for land 
or air were indeed worked by that potent and 
mysterious agency. 

I saw a convoy set out on its journey, but it 
had few passengers, containing chiefly articles of 
merchandise, and was bound to a neighbouring 
community ; for among all the tribes of the 
Vril-ya there is considerable commercial inter- 
change. I may here observe, that their money 
currency does not consist of the precious metals, 
which are too common among them for that 
purpose. The smaller coins in ordinary use are 
manufactured from a peculiar fossil shell, the 
comparatively scarce remnant of some very early 
deluge, or other convulsion of nature, by which a 
species has become extinct. It is minute, and 
flat as an oyster, and takes a jewel-like polish. 
This coinage circulates among all the tribes of the 
Vril-ya. Their larger transactions are carried 
on much like ours, by bills of exchange, and thin 
metallic plates which answer the purpose of our 

Let me take this occasion of adding that the 
taxation amoug the tribe I became acquainted 


with was very considerable, compared with the 
amount of population. But I never heard that 
any one grumbled at it, for it was devoted to 
purposes of universal utility, and indeed neces- 
sary to the civilisation of the tribe. The cost of 
lighting so large a range of country, of providing 
for emigration, of maintaining the public build- 
ings at which the various operations of national 
intellect were carried on, from the first education 
of an infant to the departments in which the 
College of Sages were perpetually trying new 
experiments in mechanical science : all these in- 
volved the necessity for considerable state funds. 
To these I must add an item that struck me as 
very singular. I have said that all the human 
labour required by the state is carried on by 
children up to the marriageable age. For this 
labour the state pays, and at a rate immeasur- 
ably higher than our remuneration to labour even 
in the United States. According to their theory, 
every child, male or female, on attaining the mar- 
riageable age, and there terminating the period of 
labour, should have acquired enough for an inde- 
pendent competence during life. As, no matter 


what the disparity of fortune in the parents, all the 
children must equally serve, so all are equally 
paid according to their several ages or the nature 
of their work. Where the parents or friends 
choose to retain a child in their own service, they 
must pay into the public fund in the same ratio as 
the state pays to the children it employs; and this 
sum is handed over to the child when the period 
of service expires. This practice serves, no doubt, 
to render the notion of social equality familiar 
and agreeable ; and if it may be said that all the 
children form a democracy, no less truly it may 
be said that all the adults form an aristocracy. 
The exquisite politeness and refinement of man- 
ners among the Vril-ya, the generosity of their 
sentiments, the absolute leisure they enjoy for 
following out their own private pursuits, the 
amenities of their domestic intercourse, in which 
they seem as members of one noble order that 
can have no distrust of each other's word or 
deed, all combine to make the Vril-ya the most 
perfect nobility which a political disciple of Plato 
or Sidney could conceive for the ideal of an aris- 
tocratic republic. 

1 86 


From the date of the expedition with Tae which 
I have just narrated, the child paid me frequent 
visits. He had taken a liking to me, which I cor- 
dially returned. Indeed, as he was not yet twelve 
years old, and had not commenced the course 
of scientific studies with which childhood closes 
in that country, my intellect was less inferior to 
his than to that of the elder members of his race, 
especially of the Gy-ei, and most especially of the 
accomplished Zee. The children of the Vril-ya, 
having upon their minds the weight of so many 
active duties and grave responsibilities, are not 
generally mirthful ; but Tae, with all his wisdom, 
had much of the playful good - humour one 
often finds the characteristic of elderly men of 
genius. He felt that sort of pleasure in my 
society which a boy of a similar age in the upper 


world has in the company of a pet dog or 
monkey. It amused him to try and teach me 
the ways of his people, as it amuses a nephew of 
mine to make his poodle walk on his hind legs 
or jump through a hoop. I willingly lent my- 
self to such experiments, but I never achieved 
the success of the poodle. I was very much in- 
terested at first in the attempt to ply the wings 
which the youngest of the Vril-ya use as nimbly 
and easily as ours do their legs and arms ; but 
my efforts were attended with contusions serious 
enough to make me abandon them in despair. 

These wings, as I before said, are very large, 
reaching to the knee, and in repose thrown back 
so as to form a very graceful mantle. They are 
composed from the feathers of a gigantic bird 
that abounds in the rocky heights of the country 
— the colour mostly white, but sometimes with 
reddish streaks. They are fastened round the 
shoulders with light but strong springs of steel ; 
and, when expanded, the arms slide through loops 
for that purpose, forming, as it were, a stout cen- 
tral membrane. As the arms are raised, a tubular 
lining beneath the vest or tunic becomes, by 


mechanical contrivance, inflated with air, in- 
creased or diminished at will by the movement 
of the arms, and serving to buoy the whole form 
as on bladders. The wings and the balloon-like 
apparatus are highly charged with vril ; and when 
the body is thus wafted upward, it seems to be- 
come singularly lightened of its weight. I found 
it easy enough to soar from the ground; indeed, 
when the wings were spread it was scarcely pos- 
sible not to soar, but then came the difficulty and 
the danger. I utterly failed in the power to use and 
direct the pinions, though I am considered among 
my own race unusually alert and ready in bodily 
exercises, and am a very practised swimmer. I 
could only make the most confused and blundering 
efforts at flight. I was the servant of the wings ; 
the wings were not my servants — they were be- 
yond my control ; and when by a violent strain of 
muscle, and, I must fairly own, in that abnormal 
strength which is given by excessive fright, I 
curbed their gyrations and brought them near to 
the body, it seemed as if I lost the sustaining 
power stored in them and the connecting bladders, 
as when air is let out of a balloon, and found 


myself precipitated again to earth ; saved, indeed, 
by some spasmodic flutterings, from being dashed 
to pieces, but not saved from the bruises and the 
stun of a heavy fall. I would, however, have per- 
severed in my attempts, but for the advice or the 
commands of the scientific Zee, who had benev- 
olently accompanied my flutterings, and indeed, 
on the last occasion, flying just under me, re- 
ceived my form as it fell on her own expanded 
wings, and preserved me from breaking my head 
on the roof of the pyramid from which we had 

" I see," she said, " that your trials are in vain, 
not from the fault of the wings and their appur- 
tenances, nor from any imperfectness and mal- 
formation of your own corpuscular system, but 
from irremediable, because organic, defect in your 
power of volition. Learn that the connection be- 
tween the will and the agencies of that fluid 
which has been subjected to the control of the 
Vril-ya was never established by the first dis- 
coverers, never achieved by a single generation ; 
it has gone on increasing, like other properties of 
race, in proportion as it has been uniformly trans- 


mitted from parent to child, so that, at last, it 
has become an instinct ; and an infant An of our 
race, wills to fly as intuitively and unconsciously 
as he wills to walk. He thus plies his invented 
or artificial wings with as much safety as a bird 
plies those with which it is born. I did not 
think sufficiently of this when I allowed you to 
try an experiment which allured me, for I longed 
to have in you a companion. I shall abandon 
the experiment now. Your life is becoming dear 
to me." Herewith the Gy's voice and face 
softened, and I felt more seriously alarmed than 
I had been in my previous flights. 

Now that I am on the subject of wings, I 
ought not to omit mention of a custom anions 
the Gy-ei which seems to me very pretty and 
tender in the sentiment it implies. A Gy wears 
wings habitually while yet a virgin — she joins 
the Ana in their aerial sports — she adventures 
alone and afar into the wilder regions of the sun- 
less world : in the boldness and height of her 
soarings, not less than in the grace of her move- 
ments, she excels the opposite sex. But from the 
day of marriage, she wears wings no more, she 


suspends them with her own willing hand over 
the nuptial couch, never to be resumed unless 
the marriage tie be severed by divorce or death. 

Now when Zee's voice and eyes thus softened — 
and at that softening I prophetically recoiled and 
shuddered — Tae, who had accompanied us in our 
flights, but who, child-like, had been much more 
amused with my awkwardness than sympathising 
in my fears or aware of my danger, hovered over 
us, poised amidst the still radiant air, serene and 
motionless on his outspread wings, and hearing 
the endearing words of the young Gy, laughed 
aloud. Said he, " If the Tish cannot learn the 
use of wings, you may still be his companion, 
Zee, for you can suspend your own." 



I had for some time observed in my host's highly 
informed and powerfully proportioned daughter 
that kindly and protective sentiment which, 
whether above the earth or below it, an all-wise 
Providence has bestowed upon the feminine divi- 
sion of the human race. But until very lately I 
had ascribed it to that affection for ' pets ' which 
a human female at every age shares with a human 
child. I now became painfully aware that the 
feeling with which Zee deigned to regard me 
was different from that which I had inspired in 
Tae. But this conviction gave me none of that 
complacent gratification which the vanity of man 
ordinarily conceives from a flattering appreciation 
of his personal merits on the part of the fair sex ; 
on the contrary, it inspired me with fear. Yet 
of all the Gy-ei in the community, if Zee were 


perhaps the wisest and the strongest, she was, by 
common repute, the gentlest, and she was cer- 
tainly the most popularly beloved. The desire 
to aid, to succour, to protect, to comfort, to bless, 
seemed to pervade her whole being. Though 
the complicated miseries that originate in penury 
and guilt are unknown to the social system of the 
Vril-ya, still, no sage had yet discovered in vril 
an agency which could banish sorrow from life ; 
and wherever amongst her people sorrow found 
its way, there Zee followed in the mission of 
comforter. Did some sister Gy fail to secure 
the love she sighed for? Zee sought her out, 
and brought all the resources of her lore, and all 
the consolations of her sympathy, to bear upon 
a grief that so needs the solace of a confidant. 
In the rare cases, when grave illness seized upon 
childhood or youth, and the cases, less rare, 
when, in the hardy and adventurous probation of 
infants, some accident, attended with pain and 
injury occurred, Zee forsook her studies and her 
sports, and became the healer and the nurse. Her 
favourite flights were towards the extreme bound- 
aries of the domain where children were stationed 



on guard against outbreaks of warring forces in 
nature, or the invasions of devouring animals, so 
that she might warn them of any peril which her 
knowledge detected or foresaw, or be at hand if 
any harm had befallen. Nay, even in the exer- 
cise of her scientific acquirements there was a 
concurrent benevolence of purpose and will. Did 
she learn any novelty in invention that would 
be useful to the practitioner of some special art or 
craft ? she hastened to communicate and explain 
it. Was some veteran sage of the College per- 
plexed and wearied with the toil of an abstruse 
study ? she would patiently devote herself to his 
aid, work out details for him, sustain his spirits 
with her hopeful smile, quicken his wit with her 
luminous suggestion, be to him, as it were, his 
own good genius made visible as the strengthener 
and inspirer. The same tenderness she exhibited 
to the inferior creatures. I have often known 
her bring home some sick and wounded animal, 
and tend and cherish it as a mother would tend 
and cherish her stricken child. Many a time 
when I sat in the balcony, or hanging garden, on 
which my window opened, I have watched her 


rising in the air on her radiant wings, and in a 
few moments groups of infants below, catching 
sight of her, would soar upward with joyous 
sounds of greeting ; clustering and sporting around 
her, so that she seemed a very centre of innocent 
delight. When I have walked with her amidst 
the rocks and valleys without the city, the elk- 
deer would scent or see her from afar, come 
bounding up, eager for the caress of her hand, or 
follow her footsteps, till dismissed by some musical 
whisper that the creature had learned to compre- 
hend. It is the fashion among the virgin Gy-ei 
to wear on their foreheads a circlet, or coronet, 
with gems resembling opals, arranged in four 
points or rays like stars. These are lustreless in 
ordinary use, but if touched by the vril wand 
they take a clear lambent flame, which illuminates, 
yet not burns. This serves as an ornament in 
their festivities, and as a lamp, if, in their wan- 
derings beyond their artificial lights, they have 
to traverse the dark. There are times, when 
I have seen Zee's thoughtful majesty of face 
lighted up by this crowning halo, that I could 
scarcely believe her to be a creature of mortal 


birth, and bent my head before her as the vision 
of a being among the celestial orders. But never 
once did my heart feel for this lofty type of the 
noblest womanhood a sentiment of human love. 
Is it that, among the race I belong to, man's pride 
so far influences his passions that woman loses to 
him her special charm of woman if he feels her to 
be in all things eminently superior to himself? 
But by what strange infatuation could this peer- 
less daughter of a race which, in the supremacy 
of its powers and the felicity of its conditions, 
ranked all other races in the category of barbar- 
ians, have deigned to honour me with her pre- 
ference % In personal qualifications, though I 
passed for good-looking amongst the people I 
came from, the handsomest of my country- 
men mio-ht have seemed insignificant and 
homely beside the grand and serene type of 
beauty which characterised the aspect of the 

That novelty, the very difference between 
myself and those to whom Zee was accustomed, 
might serve to bias her fancy was probable 
enough, and as the reader will see later, such 


a cause might suffice to account for the predilec- 
tion with which I was distinguished by a young 
G-y scarcely out of her childhood, and very infe- 
rior in all respects to Zee. But whoever will 
consider those tender characteristics which I 
have just ascribed to the daughter of Aph-Lin, 
may readily conceive that the main cause of my 
attraction to her was in her instinctive desire to 
cherish, to comfort, to protect, and, in protecting, 
to sustain and to exalt. Thus, when I look back, 
I account for the only weakness unworthy of her 
lofty nature, which bowed the daughter of the 
Vril-ya to a woman's affection for one so inferior 
to herself as was her father's guest. But be the 
cause what it may, the consciousness that I had 
inspired such affection thrilled me with awe — a 
moral awe of her very perfections, of her mys- 
terious powers, of the inseparable distinctions 
between her race and my own ; and with that 
awe, I must confess to my shame, there com- 
bined the more material and ignoble dread of 
the perils to which her preference would expose 
me. H 

Could it be supposed for a moment that the 


parents and friends of this exalted being could 
view without indignation and disgust the possi- 
bility of an alliance between herself and a Tish 1 
Her they could not punish, her they could not 
confine nor restrain. Neither in domestic nor in 
political life do they acknowledge any law of 
force amongst themselves ; but they could effec- 
tually put an end to her infatuation by a flash of 
vril inflicted upon me. 

Under these anxious circumstances, fortunately, 
my conscience and sense of honour were free 
from reproach. It became clearly my duty, if 
Zee's preference continued manifest, to intimate it 
to my host, with, of course, all the delicacy which 
is ever to be preserved by a well-bred man in 
confiding to another any degree of favour by 
which one of the fair sex may condescend to dis- 
tinguish him. Thus, at all events, I should be 
freed from responsibility or suspicion of volun- 
tary participation in the sentiments of Zee ; and 
the superior wisdom of my host might probably 
suggest some sage extrication from my perilous 
dilemma. In this resolve I obeyed the ordinary 


instinct of civilised and moral man, who, erring 
though he be, still generally prefers the right 
course in those cases where it is obviously against 
his inclinations, his interests, and his safety to 
elect the wrong one. 



As the reader has seen, Aph-Lin had not fa- 
voured my general and unrestricted intercourse 
with his countrywoman. Though relying on my 
promise to abstain from giving any information 
as to the world I had left, and still more on the 
promise of those to whom had been put the same 
request, not to question me, which Zee had ex- 
acted from Tae, yet he did not feel sure that, if 
I were allowed to mix with the strangers whose 
curiosity the sight of me had aroused, I could 
sufficiently guard myself against their inquiries. 
When I went out, therefore, it was never alone ; 
I was always accompanied either by one of my 
host's family, or my child - friend Tae. Bra, 
Aph-Lin's wife, seldom stirred beyond the gar- 
dens which surrounded the house, and was fond 
of reading the ancient literature, which contained 


something of romance and adventure not to be 
found in the writings of recent ages, and presented 
pictures of a life unfamiliar to her experience and 
interesting to her imagination ; pictures, indeed, of 
a life more resembling that which we lead every 
day above ground, coloured by our sorrows, sins, 
and passions, and much to her what the Tales of 
the Genii or the Arabian Nights are to us. But 
her love of reading did not prevent Bra from the 
discharge of her duties as mistress of the largest 
household in the city. She went daily the round 
of the chambers, and saw that the automata and 
other mechanical contrivances were in order, that 
the numerous children employed by Aph-Lin, 
whether in his private or public capacity, were 
carefully tended. Bra also inspected the accounts 
of the whole estate, and it was her great delight 
to assist her husband in the business connected 
with his office as chief administrator of the Light- 
ing Department, so that her avocations neces- 
sarily kept her much within doors. The two sons 
were both completing their education at the Col- 
lege of Sages ; and the elder, who had a strong 
passion for mechanics, and especially for works 


connected with the machinery of timepieces and 
automata, had decided in devoting himself to 
these pursuits, and was now occupied in con- 
structing a shop, or warehouse, at which his in- 
ventions could be exhibited and sold. The 
younger son preferred farming and rural occupa- 
tions ; and when not attending the College, at 
which he chiefly studied the theories of agricul- 
ture, was much absorbed by his practical appli- 
cation of that science to his father's lands. It 
will be seen by this how completely equality of 
ranks is established among this people — a shop- 
keeper being of exactly the same grade in esti- 
mation as the large landed proprietor. Aph-Lin 
was the wealthiest member of the community, 
and his eldest son preferred keeping a shop to 
any other avocation; nor was this choice thought 
to show any want of elevated notions on his part. 
This young man had been much interested 
in examining my watch, the works of which 
were new to him, and was greatly pleased 
when I made him a present of it. Shortly after, 
he returned the gift with interest, by a watch 
of his own construction, marking both the time 


as in my watch and the time as kept among 
the Vril-ya. I have that watch still, and it has 
been much admired by many among the most 
eminent watchmakers of London and Paris. 
It is of gold, with diamond hands and figures, 
and it plays a favourite tune among the Vril-ya 
in striking the hours : it only requires to be 
wound up once in ten months, and has never 
gone wrong since I had it. These young brothers 
being thus occupied, my usual companions in 
that family, when I went abroad, were my host or 
his daughter. Now, agreeably with the honourable 
conclusions I had come to, I began to excuse my- 
self from Zee's invitations to go out alone with 
her, and seized an occasion when that learned Gy 
was delivering a lecture at the College of Sages 
to ask Aph-Lin to show me his country-seat. 
As this was at some little distance, and as Aph- 
Lin was not fond of walking, while I had dis- 
creetly relinquished all attempts at flying, we 
proceeded to our destination in one of the aerial 
boats belonging to my host. A child of eight 
years old, in his employ, was our conductor. 
My host and myself reclined on cushions, and 


I found the movement very easy and luxu- 

" Aph-Lin," said I, " you will not, I trust, be 
displeased with me, if I ask your permission to 
travel for a short time, and visit other tribes or 
communities of your illustrious race. I have 
also a strong desire to see those nations which do 
not adopt your institutions, and which you con- 
sider as savages. It would interest me greatly 
to notice what are the distinctions between them 
and the races whom we consider civilised in the 
world I have left." 

" It is utterly impossible that you should go 
hence alone," said Aph-Lin. " Even among the 
Vril-ya you would be exposed to great dangers. 
Certain peculiarities of formation and colour, and 
the extraordinary phenomenon of hirsute bushes 
upon your cheeks and chin, denoting in you a 
species of An distinct alike from our race and 
any known race of barbarians yet extant, would 
attract, of course, the special attention of the 
College of Sages in whatever community of Vril- 
ya you visited, and it would depend upon the 
individual temper of some individual sage whether 


you would be received, as you have been here, 
hospitably, or whether you would not be at once 
dissected for scientific purposes. Know that 
when the Tur first took you to his house, and 
while you were there put to sleep by Tae in 
order to recover from your previous pain or 
fatigue, the sages summoned by the. Tur were 
divided in opinion whether you were a harmless 
or an obnoxious animal. During your uncon- 
scious state your teeth were examined, and they 
clearly showed that you were not only gramin- 
ivorous, but carnivorous. Carnivorous animals of 
your size are always destroyed, as being of dan- 
gerous and savage nature. Our teeth, as you 
have doubtless observed,* are not those of the 
creatures who devour flesh. It is, indeed, main- 
tained by Zee and other philosophers, that as, in 
remote ages, the Ana did prey upon living beings 
of the brute species, their teeth must have been 
fitted for that purpose. But, even if so, they 
have been modified by hereditary transmission, 
and suited to the food on which we now exist ; 

* I never had observed it ; and, if I had, am not physiologist 
enou"h to have distinguished the difference. 


nor arc even the barbarians, who adopt the tur- 
bulent and ferocious institutions of Glek-Nas, de- 
vourers of flesh like beasts of prey. 

" In the course of this dispute it was proposed 
to dissect you ; but Tae begged you off, and the 
Tur being, by office, averse to all novel experi- 
ments at variance with our custom of sparing 
life, except where it is clearly proved to be for 
the good of the community to take it, sent to me, 
whose business it is, as the richest man of the 
state, to afford hospitality to strangers from a 
distance. It was at my option to decide whether 
or not you were a stranger whom I could safely 
admit. Had I declined to receive you, you would 
have been handed over to the College of Sages, 
and what might there have befallen you I do not 
like to conjecture. Apart from this danger, you 
might chance to encounter some child of four 
years old, just put in possession of his vril staff; 
and who, in alarm at your strange appearance, 
and in the impulse of the moment, might reduce 
you to a cinder. Tae himself was about to do 
so when he first saw you, had his father not 
checked his hand. Therefore I say you cannot 


travel alone, but with Zee you would be safe ; 
and I have no doubt that she would accompany 
you on a tour round the neighbouring communi- 
ties of Vril-ya (to the savage states, No !) : I will 
ask her." 

Now, as my main object in proposing to travel 
was to escape from Zee, I hastily exclaimed, 
" Nay, pray do not ! I relinquish my design. 
You have said enough as to its dangers to deter 
me from it ; and I can scarcely think it right that 
a young Gy of the personal attractions of your 
lovely daughter should travel into other regions 
without a better protector than a Tish of my 
insignificant strength and stature." 

Aph-Lin emitted the soft sibilant sound which 
is the nearest approach to laughter that a full- 
grown An permits to himself, ere he replied : 
" Pardon my discourteous but momentary indul- 
gence of mirth at any observation seriously made 
by my guest. I could not but be amused at the 
idea of Zee, who is so fond of protecting others 
that children call her ' the guardian,' needino- a 
protector herself against any dangers arising from 
the audacious admiration of males. Know that 


our Gy-ei, while unmarried, are accustomed to 
travel alone among other tribes, to see if they find 
there some An who may please them more than 
the Ana they find at home. Zee has already 
made three such journeys, but hitherto her heart 
has been untouched." 

Here the opportunity which I sought was 
afforded to me, and I said, looking down, and 
with faltering voice, " Will you, my kind host, 
promise to pardon me, if w T hat I am about to say 
gives you offence % " 

" Say only the truth, and I cannot be offended ; 
or, could I be so, it would be not for me, but for 
you to pardon." 

" Well, then, assist me to quit you, and, much 
as I should have liked to witness more of the 
wonders, and enjoy more of the felicity, which 
belong to your people, let me return to my own." 

" I fear there are reasons why I cannot do that ; 
at all events, not without permission of the Tur, 
and he, probably, would not grant it. You are 
not destitute of intelligence ; you may (though 
I do not think so) have concealed the degree of 
destructive powers possessed by your people ; 


you might, in short, bring upon us some danger ; 
and if the Tur entertains that idea, it would 
clearly be his duty either to put an end to you, 
or enclose you in a cage for the rest of your 
existence. But why should you wish to leave a 
state of society which you so politely allow to be 
more felicitous than your own ? " 

" Oh, Aph-Lin ! my answer is plain. Lest in 
aught, and unwittingly, I should betray your hos- 
pitality ; lest, in that caprice of will which in our 
world is proverbial among the other sex, and 
from which even a Gy is not free, your adorable 
daughter should deign to regard me, though a 
Tish, as if I were a civilised An, and — and — 
and " 

" Court you as her spouse," put in Aph-Lin, 
gravely, and without any visible sign of surprise 
or displeasure. 

"You have said it." 

" That would be a misfortune," resumed my 
host, after a pause, " and I feel that you have 
acted as you ought in warning me. It is, as you 
imply, not uncommon for an un wedded Gy to 
conceive tastes as to the object she covets which 



appear whimsical to others; but there is no 
power to compel a young Gy to any course op- 
posed to that which she chooses to pursue. All 
we can do is to reason with her, and experience 
tells us that the whole College of Sages would 
find it vain to reason with a Gy in a matter 
that concerns her choice in love. I grieve for 
you, because such a marriage would be against 
the A-glauran, or good of the community, for the 
children of such a marriage would adulterate 
the race : they might even come into the world 
with the teeth of carnivorous animals ; this 
could not be allowed : Zee, as a Gy, cannot be 
controlled ; but you, as a Tish, can be destroyed. 
I advise you, then, to resist her addresses; to 
tell her plainly that you can never return her 
love. This happens constantly. Many an An, 
however ardently wooed by one Gy, rejects her, 
and puts an end to her persecution by wedding 
another. The same course is open to you." 

" No ; for I cannot wed another Gy without 
equally injuring the community, and exposing it 
to the chance of rearms; carnivorous children." 

" That is true. All I can say, and I say it 


with the tenderness due to a Tish, and the respect 
due to a guest, is frankly this — if you yield, you 
will become a cinder. I must leave it to you to 
take the best way you can to defend yourself. 
Perhaps you had better tell Zee that she is ugly. 
That assurance on the lips of him she woos gen- 
erally suffices to chill the most ardent Gy. Here 
we are at my country-house. " 



I confess that my conversation with Apli-Lin, 
and the extreme coolness with which he stated 
his inability to control the dangerous caprice of 
his daughter, and treated the idea of the re- 
duction into a cinder to which her amorous flame 
might expose my too seductive person, took 
away the pleasure I should otherwise have had 
in the contemplation of my host's country-seat, 
and the astonishing perfection of the machinery 
by which his farming operations were conducted. 
The house differed in appearance from the mas- 
sive and sombre building which Apli-Lin in- 
habited in the city, and which seemed akin to 
the rocks out of which the city itself had been 
hewn into shape. The walls of the country-seat 
were composed by trees placed a few feet apart 
from each other, the interstices being filled in 


with the transparent metallic substance which 
serves the purpose of glass among the Ana. 
These trees were all in flower, and the effect 
was very pleasing, if not in the best taste. 
We were received at the porch by lifelike 
automata, who conducted us into a chamber, the 
like to which I never saw before, but have often 
on summer days dreamily imagined. It was a 
bower — half room, half garden. The walls were 
one mass of climbing flowers. The open spaces, 
which we call windows, and in which, here, the 
metallic surfaces were slided back, commanded 
various views ; some, of the wide landscape with 
its lakes and rocks ; some, of small limited ex- 
panse answering to our conservatories, filled with 
tiers of flowers. Along the sides of the room 
were flower-beds, interspersed with cushions for 
repose. In the centre of the floor was a cistern 
and a fountain of that liquid light which I have 
presumed to be naphtha. It was luminous and of 
a roseate hue ; it sufficed without lamps to light 
up the room with a subdued radiance. All 
around the fountain was carpeted with a soft 
deep lichen, not green (I have never seen that 


colour in the vegetation of this country), but a 
quiet brown, on which the eye reposes with the 
same sense of relief as that with which in the 
upper world it reposes on green. In the out- 
lets upon flowers (which I have compared to 
our conservatories) there were singing-birds in- 
numerable, which, while we remained in the 
room, sang in those harmonies of tune to which 
they are, in these parts, so wonderfully trained. 
The roof was open. The whole scene had 
charms for every sense — music from the birds, 
fragrance from the flowers, and varied beauty 
to the eye at every aspect. About all was a 
voluptuous repose. What a place, methought, 
for a honeymoon, if a Gy bride were a little 
less formidably armed not only with the rights 
of woman, but with the powers of man ! but 
when one thinks of a Gy, so learned, so tall, 
so stately, so much above the standard of the 
creature we call woman as was Zee, no ! even if 
I had felt no fear of being reduced to a cinder, 
it is not of her I should have dreamed in that 
bower so constructed for dreams of poetic love. 
The automata reappeared, serving one of those 


delicious liquids which form the innocent wines 
of the Vril-ya. 

" Truly," said I, " this is a charming residence, 
and I can scarcely conceive w T hy you do not 
settle yourself here instead of amid the gloomier 
abodes of the city." 

" As responsible to the community for the 
administration of light, I am compelled to reside 
chiefly in the city, and can only come hither for 
short intervals." 

" But since I understand from you that no 
honours are attached to your office, and it involves 
some trouble, why do you accept it \ " 

" Each of us obeys without question the com- 
mand of the Tur. He said, 'Be it requested 
that Aph-Lin shall be Commissioner of Light/ so 
I had no choice ; but having held the office now 
for a long time, the cares, which were at first 
unwelcome, have become, if not pleasing, at least 
endurable. We are all formed by custom — even 
the difference of our race from the savage is but 
the transmitted continuance of custom, which be- 
comes, through hereditary descent, part and parcel 
of our nature. You see there are Ana who even 


reconcile themselves to the responsibilities of chief 
magistrate, but no one would do so if his duties 
had not been rendered so light, or if there were 
any questions as to compliance with his requests." 

" Not even if you thought the requests un- 
wise or unjust \ " 

" We do not allow ourselves to think so, and, 
indeed, everything goes on as if each and all 
governed themselves according to immemorial 

" When the chief magistrate dies or retires, 
how do you provide for his successor 1 " 

" The An who has discharged the duties of 
chief magistrate for many years is the best per- 
son to choose one by whom those duties may 
be understood, and he generally names his suc- 

" His son, perhaps \ " 

" Seldom that ; for it is not an office any one 
desires or seeks, and a father naturally hesitates 
to constrain his son. But if the Tur himself 
decline to make a choice, for fear it might be 
supposed that he owed some grudge to the person 
on whom his choice would settle, then there are 


three of the College of Sages who draw lots among 
themselves which shall have the power to elect the 
chief. We consider that the judgment of one An 
of ordinary capacity is better than the judgment 
of three or more, however wise they may be ; for 
among three there would probably be disputes ; 
and where there are disputes, passion clouds 
judgment. The worst choice made by one who 
has no motive in choosing wrong, is better than 
the best choice made by many who have many 
motives for not choosing right." 

" You reverse in your policy the maxims 
adopted in my country." 

" Are you all, in your country, satisfied with 
your governors ? " 

" All ! certainly not ; the governors that most 
please some are sure to be those most displeasing 
to others." 

" Then our system is better than yours." 

" For you it may be ; but according to our 
system a Tish could not be reduced to a cinder if 
a female compelled him to marry her ; and as a 
Tish I sigh to return to my native world." 

" Take courage, my dear little guest ; Zee can't 


compel you to many her. She can only entice 
you to do so. Don't be enticed. Come and look 
round my domain." 

"We went forth into a close, bordered with 
sheds ; for though the Ana keep no stock for food, 
there are some animals which they rear for milk- 
ing and others for shearing. The former have no 
resemblance to our cows, nor the latter to our 
sheep, nor do I believe such species exist amongst 
them. They use the milk of three varieties of 
animal : one resembles the antelope, but is much 
larger, beino 1 as tall as a camel : the other two 
are smaller, and, though differing somewhat from 
each other, resemble no creature I ever saw on 
earth. They are very sleek and of rounded pro- 
portions ; their colour that of the dappled deer, 
with very mild countenances and beautiful dark 
eyes. The milk of these three creatures differs 
in richness and in taste. It is usually diluted 
with water, and flavoured with the juice of a 
peculiar and perfumed fruit, and in itself is very 
nutritious and palatable. The animal whose 
fleece serves them for clothing and many other 
purposes, is more like the Italian she-goat than 


any other creature, but is considerably larger, has 
no horns, and is free from the displeasing odour 
of our goats. Its fleece is not thick, but very 
long and fine ; it varies in colour, but is never 
"white, more generally of a slate-like or lavender 
hue. For clothing it is usually worn dyed to 
suit the taste of the wearer. These animals were 
exceedingly tame, and were treated with extra- 
ordinary care and affection by the children (chiefly 
female) who tended them. 

"We then went through vast storehouses filled 
with grains and fruits. I may here observe that 
the main staple of food among these people con- 
sists — firstly, of a kind of corn much larger in 
ear than our wheat, and which by culture is per- 
petually being brought into new varieties of 
flavour ; and, secondly, of a fruit of about the 
size of a small orange, which, when gathered, is 
hard and bitter. It is stowed away for many 
months in their warehouses, and then becomes 
succulent and tender. Its juice, which is of dark- 
red colour, enters into most of their sauces. 
They have many kinds of fruit of the nature of 
the olive, from which delicious oils are extracted. 


They have a plant somewhat resembling the 
sugar-cane, but its juices are less sweet and of a 
delicate perfume. They have no bees nor honey- 
kneading insects, but they make much use of a 
sweet gum that oozes from a coniferous plant, 
not unlike the araucaria. Their soil teems also 
with esculent roots and vegetables, which it is the 
aim of their culture to improve and vary to the 
utmost. And I never remember any meal among 
this people, however it might be confined to the 
family household, in which some delicate nov- 
elty in such articles of food was not introduced. 
In fine, as I before observed, their cookery is 
exquisite, so diversified and nutritious that one 
does not miss animal food ; and their own physi- 
cal forms suffice to show that with them, at least, 
meat is not required for superior production of 
muscular fibre. They have no grapes — the 
drinks extracted from their fruits are innocent 
and refreshing. Their staple beverage, however, 
is water, in the choice of which they are very 
fastidious, distinguishing at once the slightest 

" My younger son takes great pleasure in aug- 


menting our produce," said Aph-Lin as we passed 
through the storehouses, " and therefore will 
inherit these lands, which constitute the chief 
part of my wealth. To my elder son such 
inheritance would be a great trouble and 

" Are there many sons among you who think 
the inheritance of vast wealth would be a great 
trouble and affliction'?" 

" Certainly ; there are indeed very few of the 
Vril-ya who do not consider that a fortune much 
above the average is a heavy burden. We are 
rather a lazy people after the age of childhood, 
and do not like undergoing more cares than we 
can help, and great wealth does give its owner 
many cares. For instance, it marks us out for 
public offices, which none of us like and none of us 
can refuse. It necessitates our taking a continued 
interest in the affairs of any of our poorer coun- 
trymen, so that we may anticipate their wants 
and see that none fall into poverty. There is an 
old proverb amongst us which says, ' The poor 
man's need is the rich man's shame ' " 

" Pardon me, if I interrupt you for a moment. 


You allow that some, even of the Vril-ya, know 
want, and need relief." 

" If by want you mean the destitution that 
prevails in a Koom-Posh, that is impossible with 
us, unless an An has, by some extraordinary pro- 
cess, got rid of all his means, cannot or will not 
emigrate, and has either tired out the affectionate 
aid of his relations or personal friends, or refuses 
to accept it." 

" Well, then, does he not supply the place of 
an infant or automaton, and become a labourer — 
a servant 1 " 

" No ; then we regard him as an unfortunate 
person of unsound reason, and place him, at the 
expense of the State, in a public building, where 
every comfort and every luxury that can miti- 
gate his affliction are lavished upon him. But 
an An does not like to be considered out of his 
mind, and therefore such cases occur so seldom 
that the public building I speak of is now a de- 
serted ruin, and the last inmate of it was an An 
whom I recollect to have seen in my childhood. 
He did not seem conscious of loss of reason, and 
wrote glaubs (poetry). When I spoke of wants, 


I meant such wants as an An with desires larger 
than his means sometimes entertains — for expen- 
sive singing-birds, or bigger houses, or country- 
gardens ; and the obvious way to satisfy such 
wants is to buy of him something that he sells. 
Hence Ana like myself, who are very rich, 
are obliged to buy a great many things they 
do not require, and live on a very large scale 
where they might prefer to live on a small 
one. For instance, the great size of my house 
in the town is a source of much trouble to my 
wife, and even to myself ; but I am compelled to 
have it thus incommodiously large, because, as 
the richest An of the community, I am appointed 
to entertain the strangers from the other commu- 
nities when they visit us, which they do in great 
crowds twice a-year, when certain periodical en- 
tertainments are held, and when relations scat- 
tered throughout all the realms of the Vril-ya 
joyfully reunite for a time. This hospitality, on 
a scale so extensive, is not to my taste, and there- 
fore I should have been happier had I been less 
rich. But we must all bear the lot assigned to 
us in this short passage through time that we 


call life. After all, what are a hundred years, 
more or less, to the ages through which we must 
pass hereafter ? Luckily, I have one son who 
likes great wealth. It is a rare exception to the 
general rule, and I own I cannot myself under- 
stand it." 

After this conversation I sought to return to 
the subject which continued to weigh on my 
heart — viz., the chances of escape from Zee. But 
my host politely declined to renew that topic, 
and summoned our air-boat. On our way back 
we were met by Zee, who, having found us gone, 
on her return from the College of Sages, had un- 
furled her wings and flown in search of us. 

Her grand, but to me unalluring, countenance 
brightened as she beheld me, and, poising herself 
beside the boat on her large outspread plumes, 
she said reproachfully to Aph-Lin — " Oh, father, 
was it right in you to hazard the life of your 
guest in a vehicle to which he is so unaccus- 
tomed 1 He might, by an incautious movement, 
fall over the side ; and, alas ! he is not like us, he 
has no wings. It were death to him to fall. 
Dear one ! " (she added, accosting my shrinking 


self in a softer voice), " have you no thought of 
me, that you should thus hazard a life which has 
become almost a part of mine % Never again be 
thus rash, unless I am thy companion. What 
terror thou hast stricken into me!" 

I glanced furtively at Aph - Lin, expecting, 
at least, that he would indignantly reprove his 
daughter for expressions of anxiety and affection, 
which, under all the circumstances, would, in the 
world above ground, be considered immodest in 
the lips of a young female, addressed to a male 
not affianced to her, even if of the same rank as 

But so confirmed are the rights of females in 
that region, and so absolutely foremost among 
those rights do females claim the privilege of 
courtship, that Aph-Lin would no more have 
thought of reproving his virgin daughter, than 
he would have thought of disobeying the Tur. 
In that country, custom, as he implied, is all 
and all. 

He answered mildly, "Zee, the Tish was in no 
danger, and it is my belief that he can take very 
good care of himself." 


" I would rather that he let me charge myself 
with his care. Oh, heart of my heart, it was in 
the thought of thy danger that I first felt how 
much I loved thee ! " 

Never did man feel in so false a position as I 
did. These words were spoken loud in the hear- 
ing of Zee's father — in the hearing of the child 
who steered. I blushed with shame for them, 
and for her, and could not help replying angrily : 
" Zee, either you mock me, which, as your father's 
guest, misbecomes you, or the words you utter 
are improper for a maiden Gy to address even to 
an An of her own race, if he has not wooed her 
with the ■ consent of her parents. How much 
more improper to address them to a Tish, who 
has never presumed to solicit your affections, and 
who can never regard you with other sentiments 
than those of reverence and awe ! " 

Aph-Lin made me a covert sign of approba- 
tion, but said nothing. 

"Be not so cruel!" exclaimed Zee, still in 
sonorous accents. " Can love command itself 
where it is truly felt ? Do you suppose that a 
maiden Gy will conceal a sentiment that it ele- 


vates her to feel ? What a country you must 
have come from ! " 

Here Aph-Lin gently interposed, saying, 
" Among the Tish-a the rights of your sex do not 
appear to be established, and at all events my 
guest may converse with you more freely if 
unchecked by the presence of others." 

To this remark Zee made no reply, but, darting 
on me a tender reproachful glance, agitated her 
wings and fled homeward. 

" I had counted, at least, on some aid from my 
host," said I, bitterly, " in the perils to which his 
own daughter exDoses me." 

O J. 

" I gave you the best aid I could. To contra- 
dict a Gy in her love affairs is to confirm her 
purpose. She allows no counsel to come between 
her and her affections." 



On alighting from the air-boat, a child accosted 
Aph-Lin in the hall with a request that he would 
be present at the funeral obsequies of a relation 
who had recently departed from that nether 

Now, I had never seen a burial-place or ceme- 
tery amongst this people, and, glad to seize even 
so melancholy an occasion to defer an encounter 
with Zee, I asked Aph-Lin if I might be per- 
mitted to witness with him the interment of his 
relation ; unless, indeed, it were regarded as one 
of those sacred ceremonies to which a stranger to 
their race might not be admitted. 

" The departure of an An to a happier world," 
answered my host, " when, as in the case of my 
kinsman, he has lived so long in this as to have 
lost pleasure in it, is rather a cheerful though 


quiet festival than a sacred ceremony, and you 
may accompany me if you will." 

Preceded by the child-messenger, we walked 
up the main street to a house at some little dis- 
tance, and, entering the hall, were conducted to 
a room on the ground-floor, where we found 
several persons assembled round a couch on 
which was laid the deceased. It was an old 
man, who had, as I was told, lived beyond his 
130th year. To judge by the calm smile on his 
countenance, he had passed away without suffer- 
ing. One of the sons, who was now the head of 
the family, and who seemed in vigorous middle 
life, though he was considerably more than seventy, 
stepped forward with a cheerful face and told 
Aph-Lin " that the day before he died his father 
had seen in a dream his departed Gy, and was 
eager to be reunited to her, and restored to youth 
beneath the nearer smile of the All-Good." 

While these two were talking, my attention 
was drawn to a dark metallic substance at the 
farther end of the room. It was about twenty 
feet in length, narrow in proportion, and all 
closed round, save, near the roof, there were small 


round holes through which might be seen a red 
li^ht. From the interior emanated a rich and 
sweet perfume ; and while I was conjecturing 
what purpose this machine was to serve, all the 
time-pieces in the town struck the hour with 
their solemn musical chime ; and as that sound 
ceased, music of a more joyous character, but still 
of a joy subdued and tranquil, rang through- 
out the chamber, and from the walls beyond, in 
a choral peal. Symphonious with the melody, 
those present lifted their voices in chant. The 
words of this hymn were simple. They expressed 
no regret, no farewell, but rather a greeting to the 
new world whither the deceased had preceded 
the living. Indeed, in their language, the funeral 
hymn is called the ' Birth Song.' Then the 
corpse, covered by a long cerement, was tenderly 
lifted up by six of the nearest kinsfolk and borne 
towards the dark thing I have described. I 
pressed forward to see what happened. A slid- 
ing door or panel at one end was lifted up — the 
body deposited within, on a shelf — the door re- 
closed — a spring at the side touched — a sudden 
ivhisliing, sighing sound heard from within ; and 


lo ! at the other end of the machine the lid fell 
down, and a small handful of smouldering dust 
dropped into a patera placed to receive it. The 
son took up the patera and said (in what I under- 
stood afterwards was the usual form of words), 
" Behold how great is the Maker ! To this little 
dust He gave form and life and soul. It needs 
not this little dust for Him to renew form and 
life and soul to the beloved one we shall soon 
see again." 

Each present bowed his head and pressed his 
hand to his heart. Then a young female child 
opened a small door within the wall, and I per- 
ceived, in the recess, shelves on which were placed 
many paterce like that which the son held, save 
that they all had covers. With such a cover a 
Gy now approached the son, and placed it over 
the cup, on which it closed with a spring. On 
the lid were engraven the name of the deceased, 
and these words : — " Lent to us " (here the date of 
birth). " Eecalled from us " (here the date of 

The closed door shut with a musical sound, 
and all was over. 



" Axd this/' said I, with my mind full of what 
I had witnessed — " this, I presume, is your usual 
form of burial % " 

" Our invariable form," answered Aph-Lin. 
" What is it amongst your people ? " 

" We inter the body whole within the earth." 

" What ! to degrade the form you have loved 
and honoured, the wife on whose breast you 
have slept, to the loathsomeness of corruption ? " 

"But if the soul lives again, can it matter 
whether the body waste within the earth or is 
reduced by that awful mechanism, worked, no 
doubt by the agency of vril, into a pinch of 
dust \ " 

" You answer well," said my host, " and there 
is no arguing on a matter of feeling ; but to me 
your custom is horrible and repulsive, and would 


serve to invest death with gloomy and hideous 
associations. It is something, too, to my mind, to 
be able to preserve the token of what has been 
our kinsman or friend within the abode in which 
we live. We thus feel more sensibly that he 
still lives, though not visibly so to us. But our 
sentiments in this, as in all things, are created 
by custom. Custom is not to be changed by a 
wise An, any more than it is changed by a wise 
Community, without the gravest deliberation, 
followed by the most earnest conviction. It is 
only thus that change ceases to be changeability, 
and once made is made for good." 

When we regained the house, Aph-Lin sum- 
moned some of the children in his service and 
sent them round to several of his friends, request- 
ing their attendance that day, during the Easy 
Hours, to a festival in honour of his kinsman's 
recall to the All-Good. This was the largest and 
gayest assembly I ever witnessed during my stay 
among the Ana, and was prolonged far into the 
Silent Hours. 

The banquet was spread in a vast chamber 
reserved especially for grand occasions. This 


differed from our entertainments, and was not 
without a certain resemblance to those we read of 
in the luxurious age of the Roman empire. There 
was not one great table set out, but numerous 
small tables, each appropriated to eight guests. 
It is considered that beyond that number con- 
versation languishes and friendship cools. The 
Ana never laugh loud, as I have before observed, 
but the cheerful ring of their voices at the various 
tables betokened gaiety of intercourse. As they 
have no stimulant drinks, and are temperate in 
food, though so choice and dainty, the banquet 
itself did not last long. The tables sank through 
the floor, and then came musical entertainments 
for those who liked them. Many, however, 
wandered away : — some of the younger ascended 
in their wings, for the hall was roofless, forming 
aerial dances; others strolled through the vari- 
ous apartments, examining the curiosities with 
which they were stored, or formed themselves 
into groups for various games, the favourite of 
which is a complicated kind of chess played by 
eight persons. I mixed with the crowd, but was 
prevented joining in their conversation by the 


constant companionship of one or the other of my 
host's sons, appointed to keep me from obtrusive 
questionings. The guests, however, noticed me 
but slightly ; they had grown accustomed to my 
appearance, seeing me so often in the streets, and 
I had ceased to excite much curiosity. 

To my great delight Zee avoided me, and evi- 
dently sought to excite my jealousy by marked 
attentions to a very handsome young An, who 
(though, as is the modest custom of the males 
when addressed by females, he answered with 
downcast eyes and blushing cheeks, and was 
demure and shy as young ladies new to the world 
are in most civilised countries, except England 
and America) was evidently much charmed by 
the tall Gy, and ready to falter a bashful " Yes " 
if she had actually proposed. Fervently hoping 
that she would, and more and more averse to the 
idea of reduction to a cinder after I had seen the 
rapidity with which a human body can be hurried 
into a pinch of dust, I amused myself by watch- 
ing the manners of the other young people. I 
had the satisfaction of observing that Zee was no 
singular assertor of a female's most valued rights. 


Wherever I turned my eyes, or lent my ears, it 
seemed to me that the Gy was the wooing party, 
and the An the coy and reluctant one. The 
pretty innocent airs which an An gave himself on 
being thus courted, the dexterity with which he 
evaded direct answer to professions of attachment, 
or turned into jest the flattering compliments 
addressed to him, would have done honour to the 
most accomplished coquette. Both my male 
chaperons were "subjected greatly to these seduc- 
tive influences, and both acquitted themselves with 
wonderful honour to their tact and self-control. 

I said to the elder son, who preferred mechan- 
ical employments to the management of a great 
property, and who was of an eminently philoso- 
phical temperament, — " I find it difficult to con- 
ceive how at your age, and with all the intoxicat- 
ing effects on the senses, of music and lights and 
perfumes, you can be so cold to that impassioned 
Gy who has j List left you with tears in her eyes 
at your cruelty." 

The young An replied with a sigh, "Gentle 
Tish, the greatest misfortune in life is to marry 
one Gy if you are in love with another." 



" Oh ! you are in love with another ? " 

"Alas! yes." 

" And she does not return your love \ " 

" I don't know. Sometimes a look, a tone, 
makes me hope so; but she has never plainly 
told me that she loves me." 

" Have you not whispered in her own ear that 
you love her ? " 

" Fie ! what are you thinking of 1 What world 
do you come from? Could I so betray the 
dignity of my sex 1 Could I be so un-Anly— so 
lost to shame, as to own love to a Gy who has 
not first owned hers to me \ " 

"Pardon: I was not quite aware that you 
pushed the modesty of your sex so far. But 
does no An ever say to a Gy, ' I love you/ till she 
says it first to him ? " 

" I can't say that no An has ever done so, but 
if he ever does, he is disgraced in the eyes of the 
Ana, and secretly despised by the Gy-ei. No 
Gy, well brought up, would listen to him ; she 
would consider that he audaciously infringed on 
the rights of her sex, while outraging the modesty 
which dignifies his own. It is very provoking," 



continued the An, " for she whom I love has 
certainly courted no one else, and I cannot but 
think she likes me. Sometimes I suspect that 
she does not court me because she fears I would 
ask some unreasonable settlement as to the sur- 
render of her rights. But if so, she cannot really 
love me, for where a Gy really loves she foregoes 
all rights." 

" Is this young Gy present ? " 

" Oh yes. She sits yonder talking to my 

I looked in the direction to which my eyes 
were thus guided, and saw a Gy dressed in robes 
of bright red, which among this people is a sign 
that a Gy as yet prefers a single state. She 
wears grey, a neutral tint, to indicate that she is 
looking about for a spouse ; dark purple if she 
wishes to intimate that she has made a choice ; 
purple and orange when she is betrothed or mar- 
ried ; light blue when she is divorced or a widow 
and would marry again. Light blue is of course 
seldom seen. 

Among a people where all are of so high a 
type of beauty, it is difficult to single out one as 


peculiarly handsome. My young friend's choice 
seemed to me to possess the average of good 
looks ; but there was an expression in her face 
that pleased me more than did the faces of the 
young Gy-ei generally, because it looked less bold 
— less conscious of female rights. I observed 
that, while she talked to Bra, she glanced, from 
time to time, sidelong at my young friend. 

" Courage," said I ; " that young Gy loves you." 
" Ay, but if she will not say so, how am I the 
better for her love ? " 

" Your mother is aware of your attachment % " 

" Perhaps so. I never owned it to her. It 

would be un-Anly to confide such weakness to a 

mother. I have told my father ; he may have 

told it again to his wife." 

" Will you permit me to quit you for a momeut 
and glide behind your mother and your beloved 1 
I am sure they are talking about you. Do not 
hesitate. I promise that I will not allow myself 
to be questioned till I rejoin you." 

The young An pressed his hand on his heart, 
touched me lightly on the head, and allowed 
me to quit his side. I stole unobserved behind 


his mother and his beloved. I overheard their 

Bra was speaking ; said she, " There can be no 
doubt of this : either my son, who is of marriage- 
able age, will be decoyed into marriage with one 
of his many suitors, or he will join those who 
emigrate to a distance and we shall see him no 
more. If you really care for him, my dear Lo, 
you should propose." 

" I do care for him, Bra ; but I doubt if I could 
really ever win his affections. He is fond of his 
inventions and timepieces ; and I am not like 
Zee, but so dull that I fear I could not enter into 
his favourite pursuits, and then he would get 
tired of me, and at the end of three years divorce 
me, and I could never marry another — never." 

" It is not necessary to know about timepieces 
to know how to be so necessary to the happiness 
of an An, who cares for timepieces that he would 
rather give up the timepieces than divorce his 
Gy. You see, my dear Lo," continued Bra, " that 
precisely because we are the stronger sex, we 
rule the other, provided we never show our 
strength. If you were superior to my son in 


making timepieces and automata, you should, as 
his wife, always let him suppose you thought him 
superior in that art to yourself. The An tacitly 
allows the pre-eminence of the Gy in all except 
his own special pursuit. But if she either excels 
him in that, or affects not to admire him for his 
proficiency in it, he will not love her very long ; 
perhaps he may even divorce her. But where a 
Gy really loves, she soon learns to love all that 
the An does." 

The young Gy made no answer to this address. 
She looked down musingly, then a smile crept 
over her lips, and she rose, still silent, and went 
through the crowd till she paused by the young 
An who loved her. I followed her steps, but 
discreetly stood at a little distance while I 
watched them. Somewhat to my surprise, till 
I recollected the coy tactics among the Ana, the 
lover seemed to receive her advances with an air 
of indifference. He even moved away, but she 
pursued his steps, and, a little time after, both 
spread their wings and vanished amid the lumi- 
nous space above. 

Just then I was accosted by the chief magis- 


trate, who mingled with the crowd distinguished 
by no signs of deference or homage. It so hap- 
pened that I had not seen this great dignitary 
since the day I had entered his dominions, and 
recalling Aph-Lin's words as to his terrible doubt 
whether or not I should be dissected, a shudder 
crept over me at the sight of his tranquil coun- 

" I hear much of you, stranger, from my son 
Tae," said the Tur, laying his hand politely on 
my bended head. " He is very fond of your 
society, and I trust you are not displeased with 
the customs of our people." 

I muttered some unintelligible answer, which I 
intended to be an assurance of my gratitude for 
the kindness I had received from the Tur, and 
my admiration of his countrymen, but the dissect- 
ing-knife gleamed before my mind's eye and choked 
my utterance. A softer voice said, " My brother's 
friend must be dear to me." And looking up I 
saw a young Gy, who might be sixteen years old, 
standing beside the magistrate and gazing at me 
with a very benignant countenance. She had 
not come to her full growth, and was scarcely 


taller than myself (viz., about 5 feet 10 inches), 
and, thanks to that comparatively diminutive 
stature, I thought her the loveliest Gy I had 
hitherto seen. I suppose something in my eyes 
revealed that impression, for her countenance 
grew yet more benignant, 

" Tae tells me," she said, " that you have not 
yet learned to accustom yourself to wings. 
That grieves me, for I should have liked to fly 
with you." 

" Alas I" I replied, " I can never hope to enjoy 
that happiness. I am assured by Zee that the 
safe use of wings is a hereditary gift, and it 
would take generations before one of my race 
could poise himself in the air like a bird." 

" Let not that thought vex you too much," 
replied this amiable Princess, " for, after all, there 
must come a day when Zee and myself must 
resign our wings for ever. Perhaps when that 
day comes we might be glad if the An we chose 
was also without wings." 

The Tur had left us, and was lost amongst 
the crowd. I began to feel at ease with Tae's 
charming sister, and rather startled her by the 


boldness of my compliment in replying " that no 
An she could choose would ever use his wings to 
fly away from her." It is so against custom for 
an An to say such civil things to a Gy till she 
has declared her passion for him, and been ac- 
cepted as his betrothed, that the young maiden 
stood quite dumfounded for a few moments. 
Nevertheless she did not seem displeased. At 
last recovering herself, she invited me to ac- 
company her into one of the less crowded rooms 
and listen to the songs of the birds. I followed 
her steps as she glided before me, and she led me 
into a chamber almost deserted. A fountain of 
naphtha was playing in the centre of the room ; 
round it were ranged soft divans, and the walls 
of the room were open on one side to an aviary 
in which the birds were chanting their artful 
chorus. The Gy seated herself on one of the 
divans, and I placed myself at her side. " Tae 
tells me," she said, " that Aph-Lin has made it 
the law * of his house that you are not to be 

* Literally " has said, In this house he it requested." Words 
synonymous with law, as implying forcihle obligation, are avoided 
by this singular people. Even had it been decreed by the Tur 


questioned as to the country you come from or 
the reason why you visit us. Is it so ? " 

" It is." 

" May I, at least, without sinning against that 
law, ask at least if the Gy-ei in your country 
are of the same pale colour as yourself, and no 
taller %" 

"I do not think, beautiful Gy, that I 
infringe the law of Aph-Lin, which is more 
binding on myself than any one, if I answer 
questions so innocent. The Gy - ei in my 
country are much fairer of hue than I am, and 
their average height is at least a head shorter 
than mine." 

"They cannot then be so strong as the Ana 
amongst you? But I suppose their superior 
vril force makes up for such extraordinary dis- 
advantage of size \ " 

"They do not profess the vril force as you 
know it. But still they are very powerful in my 

that his College of Sages should dissect me, the decree would have 
ran blandly thus, — " Be it requested that, for the good of the 
community, the carnivorous Tish be requested to submit himself 
to dissection." 


country, and an An lias small chance of a happy- 
life if he be not more or less governed by his Gy." 

"You speak feelingly/' said Tae's sister, in a 
tone of voice half sad, half petulant. " You are 
married, of course % " 

" No — certainly not." 

" Nor betrothed ? " 

" Nor betrothed." 

"Is it possible that no Gy has proposed to 
you ? " 

"In my country the Gy does not propose; the 
An speaks first." 

" What a strange reversal of the laws of 
nature ! " said the maiden, " and what want of 
modesty in your sex ! But have you never pro- 
posed, never loved one Gy more than another ? " 

I felt embarrassed by these ingenuous question- 
ings, and said, " Pardon me, but I think we are 
beginning to infringe upon Aph-Lin's injunction. 
Thus much only will I say in answer, and then, 
I implore you, ask no more. I did once feel the 
preference you speak of ; I did propose, and the 
Gy would willingly have accepted me, but her 
parents refused their consent." 


" Parents ! Do you mean seriously to tell me 
that parents can interfere with the choice of their 
daughters 1 " 

" Indeed they can, and do very often." 

"I should not like to live in that country," 
said the Gy, simply; " but I hope you will never 
go back to it." 

I bowed my head in silence. The Gy gently 
raised my face with her right hand, and looked 
into it tenderly. "Stay with us," she said; 
" stay with us, and be loved." 

What I might have answered, what dangers of 
becoming a cinder I might have encountered, I 
still tremble to think, when the light of the 
naphtha fountain was obscured by the shadow of 
wings; and Zee, flying through the open roof, 
alighted beside us. She said not a word, but, 
taking my arm with her mighty hand, she drew 
me away, as a mother draws a naughty child, 
and led me through the apartments to one of 
the corridors, on which, by the mechanism they 
generally prefer to stairs, we ascended to my 
own room. This gained, Zee breathed on my 
forehead, touched my breast with her staff, and 


I was instantly plunged into a profound 

"When I awoke some hours later, and heard 
the song of the birds in the adjoining aviary, the 
remembrance of Tae's sister, her gentle looks and 
caressing words, vividly returned to me ; and so 
impossible is it for one born and reared in our 
upper world's state of society to divest himself 
of ideas dictated by vanity and ambition, that I 
found myself instinctively building proud castles 
in the air. 

" Tish though I be," thus ran my meditations 
— " Tish though I be, it is then clear that Zee is 
not the only Gy whom my appearance can capti- 
vate. Evidently I am loved by a Princess, the 
first maiden of this laud, the daughter of the 
absolute Monarch whose autocracy they so idly 
seek to disguise by the republican title of chief 
magistrate. But for the sudden swoop of that 
horrible Zee, this Eoyal Lady would have for- 
mally proposed to me ; and though it may be 
very well for Aph-Lin, who is only a subordi- 
nate minister, a mere Commissioner of Light, 
to threaten me with destruction if I accept his 


daughter's hand, yet a Sovereign, whose word is 
law, could compel the community to abrogate 
any custom that forbids intermarriage with one 
of a strange race, and which in itself is a contra- 
diction to their boasted equality of ranks. 

" It is not to be supposed that his daughter, 
who spoke with such incredulous scorn of the 
interference of parents, would not have sufficient 
influence with her Eoyal Father to save me from 
the combustion to which Aph-Lin would con- 
demn my form. And if I were exalted by such 
an alliance, who knows but what the Monarch 
might elect me as his successor. Why not 1 
Few among this indolent race of philosophers 
like the burden of such greatness. All might 
be pleased to see the supreme power lodged in 
the hands of an accomplished stranger who has 
experience of other and livelier forms of exist- 
ence ; and, once chosen, what reforms I would 
institute ! What additions to the really pleasant 
but too monotonous life of this realm my famil- 
iarity with the civilised nations above ground 
would effect! I am fond of the sports of the 
field. Next to war, is not the chase a king's 


pastime ? In what varieties of strange game 
does this nether world abound ! How 7 interesting 
to strike down creatures that were known above 
ground before the Deluge ! But how ? By that 
terrible vril, in which, from want of hereditary 
transmission, I could never be a proficient. No, 
but by a civilised handy breech-loader, which 
these ingenious mechanicians could not only 
make, but no doubt improve ; nay, surely I saw 
one in the Museum. Indeed, as absolute king, 
I should discountenance vril altogether, except 
in cases of war. Apropos of war, it is perfectly 
absurd to stint a people so intelligent, so rich, so 
well armed, to a petty limit of territory sufficing 
for 10,000 or 12,000 families. Is not this re- 
striction a mere philosophical crotchet, at vari- 
ance with the aspiring element in human nature, 
such as has been partially, and with complete 
failure, tried in the upper world by the late Mr 
Bobert Owen. Of course one would not go to 
war with neighbouring nations as well armed as 
one's own subjects ; but then, what of those re- 
gions inhabited by races unacquainted with vril, 
and apparently resembling, in their democratic 


institutions, my American countrymen \ One 
misjht invade them without offence to the vril 
nations, our allies, appropriate their territories, 
extending, perhaps, to the most distant regions 
of the nether earth, and thus rule over an empire 
in which the sun never sets. (I forgot, in my 
enthusiasm, that over those regions there was 
no sun to set.) As for the fantastical notion 
against conceding fame or renown to an emi- 
nent individual, because, forsooth, bestowal of 
honours insures contest in the pursuit of them, 
stimulates angry passions, and mars the felicity 
of peace — it is opposed to the very elements, not 
only of the human but the brute creation, which 
are all, if tamable, participators in the senti- 
ment of praise and emulation. What renown 
would be given to a king who thus extended 
his empire ! I should be deemed a demigod." 
Thinking of that, the other fanatical notion 
of regulating this life by reference to one which, 
no doubt, we Christians firmly believe in, but 
never take into consideration, I resolved that 
enlightened philosophy compelled me to abolish 
a heathen religion so superstitiously at variance 



with modern thought and practical action. Mus- 
ing over these various projects, I felt how much 
I should have liked at that moment to brighten 
my wits by a good glass of whisky-and-water. 
Not that I am habitually a spirit-drinker, but 
certainly there are times when a little stimulant 
of alcoholic nature, taken with a cigar, enlivens 
the imagination. Yes; certainly among these 
herbs and fruits there would be a liquid from 
which one could extract a pleasant vinous alcohol; 
and with a steak cut off one of those elks (ah ! 
what offence to science to reject the animal food 
which our first medical men agree in recommend- 
ing to the gastric juices of mankind ! ) one 
would certainly pass a more exhilarating hour of 
repast. Then, too, instead of those antiquated 
dramas performed by childish amateurs, cer- 
tainly, when I am king, I will introduce our 
modern opera and a corps cle ballet, for which 
one might find, among the nations I shall con- 
quer, young females of less formidable height 
and thews than the Gy-ei — not armed with 
vril, and not insisting upon one's marrying 


I was so completely rapt in these and similar 
reforms, political, social, and moral, calculated to 
bestow on the people of the nether world the 
blessings of a civilisation known to the races of 
the upper, that I did not perceive that Zee had 
entered the chamber till I heard a deep sigh, 
and, raising my eyes, beheld her standing by 
my couch. 

I need not say that, according to the manners 
of this people, a Gy can, without indecorum, visit 
an An in his chamber, though an An would be 
considered forward and immodest to the last 
degree if he entered the chamber of a Gy with- 
out previously obtaining her permission to do so. 
Fortunately I was in the full habiliments I had 
worn when Zee had deposited me on the couch. 
Nevertheless I felt much irritated, as well as 
shocked, by her visit, and asked in a rude tone 
what she wanted. 

"Speak gently, beloved one, I entreat you," 
said she, " for I am very unhappy. I have not 
slept since we parted." 

" A due sense of your shameful conduct to me 
as your father's guest might well suffice to banish 


sleep from your eyelids. Where was the affec- 
tion you pretend to have for me, where was even 
that politeness on which the Vril-ya pride them- 
selves, when, taking advantage alike of that 
physical strength in which your sex, in this 
extraordinary region, excels our own, and of 
those detestable and unhallowed powers which 
the agencies of vril invest in your eyes and finger- 
ends, you exposed me to humiliation before your 
assembled visitors, before Her Royal Highness — 
I mean, the daughter of your own chief magis- 
trate, — carrying me off to bed like a naughty 
infant, and plunging me into sleep, without 
asking my consent % " 

" Ungrateful ! Do you reproach me for the 
evidences of my love 1 Can you think that, even 
if unstung by the jealousy which attends upon 
love till it fades away in blissful trust when we 
know that the heart we have wooed is won, I 
could be indifferent to the perils to which the 
audacious overtures of that silly little child might 
expose you ? " 

" Hold ! Since you introduce the subject of 
perils, it perhaps does not misbecome me to say 


that my most imminent perils come from your- 
self, or at least would come if I believed in 
your love and accepted your addresses. Your 
father has told me plainly that in that case I 
should be consumed into a cinder with as little 
compunction as if I were the reptile whom Tae 
blasted into ashes with the flash of his wand." 

" Do not let that fear chill your heart to me/' 
exclaimed Zee, dropping on her knees and 
absorbing my right hand in the space of her 
ample palm. " It is true, indeed, that we two 
cannot wed as those of the same race wed ; 
true that the love between us must be pure as 
that which, in our belief, exists between lovers 
who reunite in the new life beyond that boundary 
at which the old life ends. But is it not happi- 
ness enough to be together, wedded in mind and 
in heart 1 Listen : I have just left my father. 
He consents to our union on those terms. I 
have sufficient influence with the College of 
Sages to insure their request to the Tur not to 
interfere with the free choice of a Gy, provided 
that her wedding with one of another race be but 
the wedding of souls. Oh, think you that true 


love needs ignoble union 1 ? It is not that I yearn 
only to be by your side in this life, to be part 
and parcel of your joys and sorrows here : I ask 
here for a tie which will bind us for ever and for 
ever in the world of immortals. Do you reject 

As she spoke, she knelt, and the whole charac- 
ter of her face was changed ; nothing of stern- 
ness left to its grandeur ; a divine light, as that 
of an immortal, shining out from its human 
beauty. But she rather awed me as angel than 
moved me as woman, and after an embarrassed 
pause, I faltered forth evasive expressions of 
gratitude, and sought, as delicately as I could, to 
point out how humiliating would be my position 
amongst her race in the light of a husband who 
might never be permitted the name of father. 

" But/' said Zee, " this community does not 
constitute the whole world. No ; nor do all the 
populations comprised in the league of the Vril- 
ya. For thy sake I will renounce my country 
and my people. We will fly together to some 
region where thou shalt be safe. I am strong 
enough to bear thee on my wings across the 


deserts that intervene. I am skilled enough to 
cleave open, amidst the rocks, valleys in which to 
build our home. Solitude and a hut with thee 
would be to me society and the universe. Or 
wouldst thou return to thine own world, above the 
surface of this, exposed to the uncertain seasons, 
and lit but by the changeful orbs which con- 
stitute by thy description the fickle character of 
those savage regions ? If so, speak the word, and 
I will force the way for thy return, so that I am 
thy companion there, though, there as here, but 
partner of thy soul, and fellow-traveller with thee 
to the world in which there is no parting and no 

I could not but be deeply affected by the ten- 
derness, at once so pure and so impassioned, with 
which these words were uttered, and in a voice 
that would have rendered musical the roughest 
sounds in the rudest tongue. And for a mo- 
ment it did occur to me that I might avail 
myself of Zee's agency to effect a safe and speedy 
return to the upper world. But a very brief 
space for reflection sufficed to show me how dis- 
honourable and base a return for such devotion 



it would be to allure thus away, from her own 
people and a home in which I had been so hos- 
pitably treated, a creature to whom our world 
would be so abhorrent, and for whose barren, if 
spiritual love, I could not reconcile myself to 
renounce the more human affection of mates less 
exalted above my erring self. With this senti- 
ment of duty towards the Gy combined another 
of duty towards the whole race I belonged to. 
Could I venture to introduce into the upper 
world a being so formidably gifted — a being 
that with a movement of her staff could in less 
than an hour reduce New York and its glorious 
Koom-Posh into a pinch of snuff? Eob her of 
one staff, with her science she could easily con- 
struct another; and with the deadly lightnings 
that armed the slender engine her whole frame 
was charged. If thus dangerous to the cities 
and populations of the whole upper earth, could 
she be a safe companion to myself in case her 
affection should be subjected to change or em- 
bittered by jealousy'? These thoughts, which it 
takes so many words to express, passed rapidly 
through my brain and decided my answer. 


" Zee," I said, in the softest tones I could com- 
mand, and pressing respectful lips on the hand 
into whose clasp mine had vanished — " Zee, I 
can find no words to say how deeply I am 
touched, and how highly I am honoured, by a 
love so disinterested and self-immolating. My 
best return to it is perfect frankness. Each 
nation has its customs. The customs of yours do 
not allow you to wed me ; the customs of mine 
are equally opposed to such a union between 
those of races so widely differing. On the other 
hand, though not deficient in courage among my 
own people, or amid dangers with which I am 
familiar, I cannot, without a shudder of horror, 
think of constructing a bridal home in the heart 
of some dismal chaos, with all the elements of 
nature, fire and water and mephitic gases, at 
war with each other, and with the probability 
that at some moment, while you were busied 
in cleaving rocks or conveying vril into lamps, 
I should be devoured by a krek which your 
operations disturbed from its hiding-place. I, 
a mere Tish, do not deserve the love of a Gy, 
so brilliant, so learned, so potent as yourself. 


Yes, I do not deserve that love, for I cannot 
return it." 

Zee released my hand, rose to her feet, and 
turned her face away to hide her emotions ; then 
she glided noiselessly along the room, and paused 
at the threshold. Suddenly, impelled as by a 
new thought, she returned to my side and said, 
in a whispered tone, — 

" You told me you would speak with perfect 
frankness. With perfect frankness, then, answer 
me this question. If you cannot love me, do 
you love another \ " 
" Certainly, I do not." 
" You do not love Tae's sister ? " 
" I never saw her before last nio'ht." 
" That is no answer. Love is swifter than 
vril. You hesitate to tell me. Do not think it 
is only jealousy that prompts me to caution you. 
If the Tur's daughter should declare love to you 
— if in her ignorance she confides to her father 
any preference that may justify his belief that 
she will woo you — he will have no option but 
to request your immediate destruction, as he is 
specially charged with the duty of consulting 


the good of the community, which could not 
allow a daughter of the Vril-ya to wed a son of 
the Tish-a, in that sense of marriage which does 
not confine itself to union of the souls. Alas ! 
there would then be for you no escape. She has 
no strength of wing to uphold you through the 
air; she has no science wherewith to make a 
home in the wilderness. Believe that here my 
friendship speaks, and that my jealousy is silent." 
With those words Zee left me. And recalling 
those words, I thought no more of succeeding to 
the throne of the Vril-ya, or of the political, 
social, and moral reforms I should institute in 
the capacity of Absolute Sovereign. 



After the conversation with Zee just recorded, 
I fell into a profound melancholy. The curious 
interest with which I had hitherto examined the 
life and habits of this marvellous community was 
at an end. I could not banish from my mind 
the consciousness that I was among a people who, 
however kind and courteous, could destroy me 
at any moment without scruple or compunction. 
The virtuous and peaceful life of the people 
which, while new to me, had seemed so holy a 
contrast to the contentions, the passions, the vices 
of the upper world, now began to oppress me with 
a sense of dulness and monotony. Even the 
serene tranquillity of the lustrous air preyed on 
my spirits. I longed for a change, even to win- 
ter, or storm, or darkness. I began to feel that, 
whatever our dreams of perfectibility, our rest- 


less aspirations towards a better, and higher, and 
calmer sphere of being, we, the mortals of the 
upper world, are not trained or fitted to enjoy for 
long the very happiness of which we dream or to 
which we aspire. 

Now, in this social state of the Vril-ya, it was 
singular to mark how it contrived to unite and 
to harmonise into one system nearly all the ob- 
jects which the various philosophers of the upper 
world have placed before human hopes as the 
ideals of a Utopian future. It was a state in 
which war, with all its calamities, was deemed 
impossible, — a state in which the freedom of all 
and each was secured to the uttermost degree, 
without one of those animosities which make 
freedom in the upper world depend on the 
perpetual strife of hostile parties. Here the 
corruption which debases democracies was as un- 
known as the disconteuts which undermine the 
thrones of monarchies. Equality here was not 
a name ; it was a reality. Kiches were not 
persecuted, because they were not envied. Here 
those problems connected with the labours of a 
working class, hitherto insoluble above ground, 


and above ground conducing to such bitter- 
ness between classes, were solved by a process 
the simplest, — a distinct and separate working 
class was dispensed with altogether. Mechanical 
inventions, constructed on principles that baffled 
my research to ascertain, worked by an agency 
infinitely more powerful and infinitely more easy 
of management than aught we have yet extracted 
from electricity or steam, with the aid of children 
whose strength was never overtasked, but who 
loved their employment as sport and pastime, 
sufficed to create a Public-wealth so devoted to 
the general use that not a grumbler was ever 
heard of. The vices that rot our cities, here had 
no footing. Amusements abounded, but they 
were all innocent. No merry-makings conduced 
to intoxication, to riot, to disease. Love existed, 
and was ardent in pursuit, but its object, once 
secured, was faithful. The adulterer, the profli- 
gate, the harlot, were phenomena so unknown in 
this commonwealth, that even to find the words 
by which they were designated one would have 
had to search throughout an obsolete literature 
composed thousands of years before. They who 


have been students of theoretical philosophies 
above ground, know that all these strange de- 
partures from civilised life do but realise ideas 
which have been broached, canvassed, ridiculed, 
contested for ; sometimes partially tried, and still 
put forth in fantastic books, but have never come 
to practical result. Nor were these all the steps 
towards theoretical perfectibility which this com- 
munity had made. It had been the sober belief 
of Descartes that the life of man could be pro- 
longed, not, indeed, on this earth, to eternal 
duration, but to what he called the age of the 
patriarchs, and modestly defined to be from 100 
to 150 years average length. Well, even this 
dream of sages was here fulfilled — nay, more 
than fulfilled ; for the vigour of middle life was 
preserved even after the term of a century was 
passed. With this longevity was combined a 
greater blessing than itself — that of continuous 
health. Such diseases as befell the race were 
removed with ease by scientific applications of 
that agency — life-giving as life -destroying — 
which is inherent in vril. Even this idea is not 
unknown above ground, though it has gener- 


ally been confined to enthusiasts or charlatans, 
and emanates from confused notions about mes- 
merism, odic force, &c. Passing by such trivial 
contrivances as wings, which every schoolboy 
knows has been tried and found wanting, from 
the mythical or pre-historical period, I proceed 
to that very delicate question, urged of late as 
essential to the perfect happiness of our human 
species by the two most disturbing and potential 
influences on upper-ground society, — Womankind 
and Philosophy. I mean, the Rights of Women. 
Now, it is allowed by jurisprudists that it is 
idle to talk of rights where there are not cor- 
responding powers to enforce them ; and above 
ground, for some reason or other, man, in his 
physical force, in the use of weapons offensive and 
defensive, when it comes to positive personal 
contest, can, as a rule of general application, 
master women. But among this people there 
can be no doubt about the rights of women, be- 
cause, as I have before said, the Gy, physically 
speaking, is bigger and stronger than the An ; 
and her will being also more resolute than his, 
and will being essential to the direction of the 


vril force, she can bring to bear upon him, more 
potently than he on herself, the mystical agency 
which art can extract from the occult properties 
of nature. Therefore all that our female philo- 
sophers above ground contend for as to rights 
of women, is conceded as a matter of course in 
this happy commonwealth. Besides such phy- 
sical powers, the Gy-ei have (at least in youth) 
a keen desire for accomplishments and learning 
which exceeds that of the male ; and thus they 
are the scholars, the professors — the learned por- 
tion, in short, of the community. 

Of course, in this state of society the female 
establishes, as I have shown, her most valued 
privilege, that of choosing and courting her wed- 
ding partner. Without that privilege she would 
despise all the others. Now, above ground, we 
should not unreasonably apprehend that a female, 
thus potent and thus privileged, when she had 
fairly hunted us down and married us, would be 
very imperious and tyrannical. Not so with the 
Gy-ei : once married, the wings once suspended, 
and more amiable, complacent, docile mates, more 
sympathetic, more sinking their loftier capacities 


into the study of their husbands' comparatively 
frivolous tastes and whims, no poet could con- 
ceive in his visions of conjugal bliss. Lastly, 
among the more important characteristics of the 
Vril-ya, as distinguished from our mankind — 
lastly, and most important on the bearings of 
their life and the peace of their commonwealths, is 
their universal agreement in the existence of a 
merciful beneficent Deity, and of a future world 
to the duration of which a century or two are 
moments too brief to waste upon thoughts of fame 
and power and avarice ; while with that agree- 
ment is combined another — viz., since they can 
know nothing as to the nature of that Deity 
beyond the fact of His supreme goodness, nor of 
that future world beyond the fact of its felicitous 
existence, so their reason forbids all angry dis- 
putes on insoluble questions. Thus they secure 
for that state in the bowels of the earth what no 
community ever secured under the light of the 
stars — all the blessings and consolations of a reli- 
gion without any of the evils and calamities 
which are engendered by strife between one reli- 
gion and another. 


It would be, then, utterly impossible to deny 
that the state of existence among the Vril-ya is 
thus, as a whole, immeasurably more felicitous than 
that of super-terrestrial races, and, realising the 
dreams of our most sanguine philanthropists, 
almost approaches to a poet's conception of some 
angelical order. And yet, if you would take a 
thousand of the best and most philosophical of 
human beings you could find in London, Paris, 
Berlin, New York, or even Boston, and place them 
as citizens in this beatified community, my belief 
is, that in less than a year they would either die 
of ennui, or attempt some revolution by which 
they would militate against the good of the com- 
munity, and be burnt into cinders at the request 
of the Tur. 

Certainly I have no desire to insinuate, throuoh 
the medium of this narrative, any ignorant dis- 
paragement of the race to which I belong I 
have, on the contrary, endeavoured to make it 
clear that the principles which regulate the social 
system of the Vril-ya forbid them to produce those 
individual examples of human greatness which 
adorn the annals of the upper world. "Where 


there are no wars there can be no Hannibal, no 
Washington, no Jackson, no Sheridan ; — where 
states are so happy that they fear no danger and 
desire no change, they cannot give birth to a 
Demosthenes, a Webster, a Sumner, a Wendel 
Holmes, or a Butler ; and where a society attains 
to a moral standard, in which there are no 
crimes and no sorrows from which tragedy can 
extract its aliment of pity and sorrow, no salient 
vices or follies on which comedy can lavish its 
mirthful satire, it has lost the chance of produc- 
ing a Shakespeare, or a Moliere, or a Mrs Beecher 
Stowe. But if I have no desire to disparage my 
fellow-men above ground in showing how much 
the motives that impel the energies and ambi- 
tion of individuals in a society of contest and 
struggle — become dormant or annulled in a so- 
ciety which aims at securing for the aggregate 
the calm and innocent felicity which we presume 
to be the lot of beatified immortals; neither, on 
the other hand, have I the wish to represent the 
commonwealths of the Vril-ya as an ideal form of 
political society, to the attainment of which our 
own efforts of reform should be directed. On the 


contrary, it is because we have so combined, 
throughout the series of ages, the elements which 
compose human character, that it would be 
utterly impossible for us to adopt the modes of 
life, or to reconcile our passions to the modes of 
thought among the Vril-ya, — that I arrived at the 
conviction that this people — though originally 
not only of our human race, but, as seems to me 
clear by the roots of their language, descended 
from the same ancestors as the great Aryan 
family, from which in varied streams has flowed 
the dominant civilisation of the world ; and 
having, according to their myths and their his- 
tory, passed through phases of society familiar to 
ourselves, — had yet now developed into a distinct 
species with which it was impossible that any 
community in the upper world could amalgamate : 
And that if they ever emerged from these nether 
recesses into the light of day, they would, accord- 
ing to their own traditional persuasions of their 
ultimate destiny, destroy and replace our existent 
varieties of man. 

It may, indeed, be said, since more than one 
Gy could be found to conceive a partiality 


for so ordinary a type of our super-terrestrial 
race as myself, that even if the Vril-ya did ap- 
pear above ground, we might be saved from 
extermination by intermixture of race. But this 
is too sanguine a belief. Instances of such mesal- 
liance would be as rare as those of intermarriage 
between the Anglo-Saxon emigrants and the Red 
Indians. Nor would time be allowed for the 
operation of familiar intercourse. The Vril-ya, 
on emerging, induced by the charm of a sunlit 
heaven to form their settlements above ground, 
would commence. at once the work of destruction, 
seize upon the territories already cultivated, and 
clear off, without scruple, all the inhabitants who 
resisted that invasion. And considering their 
contempt for the institutions of Koom-Posh or 
Popular Government, and the pugnacious valour 
of my beloved countrymen, I believe that if the 
Vril-ya first appeared in free America — as, being 
the choicest portion of the habitable earth, they 
would doubtless be induced to do — and said, 
" This quarter of the globe we take ; Citizens of 
a Koom-Posh, make way for the development of 
species in the Vril-ya," my brave compatriots 


would show fight, and not a soul of them would 
be left in this life, to rally round the Stars and 
Stripes, at the end of a week. 

I now saw but little of Zee, save at meals, when 
the family assembled, and she was then reserved 
and silent. My apprehensions of danger from an 
affection I had so little encouraged or deserved, 
therefore, now faded away, but my dejection 
continued to increase. I pined for escape to the 
upper world, but I racked my brains in vain for 
any means to effect it. I was never permitted to 
wander forth alone, so that I could not even visit 
the spot on which I had alighted, and see if it 
were possible to re-ascend to the mine. Nor even 
in the Silent Hours, when the household was locked 
in sleep, could I have let myself down from the 
lofty floor in which my apartment was placed. 
I knew not how to command the automata who 
stood mockingly at my beck beside the wall, nor 
could I ascertain the springs by which were set 
in movement the platforms that supplied the 
place of stairs. The knowledge how to avail 
myself of these contrivances had been purposely 
withheld from me. Oh, that I could but have 



learned the use of wings, so freely here at the 
service of every infant, then I might have escaped 
from the casement, regained the rocks, and 
buoyed myself aloft through the chasm of which 
the perpendicular sides forbade place for human 
footing ! 



One da)*, as I sat alone and brooding in my 
chamber, Tae flew in at the open window and 
alighted on the conch beside me. I was always 
pleased with the visits of a child, in whose society, 
if humbled, I was less eclipsed than in that of 
Ana who had completed their education and 
matured their understanding. And as I was per- 
mitted to wander forth with him for my compan- 
ion, and as I longed to revisit the spot in which 
I had descended into the nether world, I hastened 
to ask him if he were at leisure for a stroll be- 
yond the streets of the city. His countenance 
seemed to me graver than usual as he replied, 
"I came hither on purpose to invite you forth." 

We soon found ourselves in the street, and had 
not got far from the house when we encountered 
five or six young Gy-ei, who were returning from 


the fields with baskets full of flowers, and chant- 
ing a song in chorus as they walked. A young 
Gy sings more often than she talks. They stop- 
ped on seeing us, accosting Tae with familiar 
kindness, and me with the courteous gallantry 
which distinguishes the Gy-ei in their manner 
towards our weaker sex. 

And here I may observe that, though a virgin 
Gy is so frank in her courtship to the individual 
she favours, there is nothing that approaches to 
that general breadth and loudness of manner 
which those young ladies of the Anglo-Saxon 
race, to whom the distinguished epithet of ' fast ' 
is accorded, exhibit towards young gentlemen 
whom they do not profess to love. No : the 
bearing of the Gy-ei towards males in ordinary 
is very much that of high-bred men in the gallant 
societies of the upper world towards ladies whom 
they respect but do not woo ; deferential, com- 
plimentary, exquisitely polished — what we should 
call ' chivalrous.' 

Certainly I was a little put out by the number 
of civil things addressed to my amour propre, 
which were said to me by these courteous young 


Gy-ei. In the world I came from, a man would 
have thought himself a£2rieved, treated with 
irony, ' chaffed ' (if so vulgar a slang word may 
be allowed on the authority of the popular novel- 
ists who use it so freely), when one fair Gy com- 
plimented me on the freshness of my complexion, 
another on the choice of colours in my dress, a 
third, with a sly smile, on the conquests I had 
made at Aph-Lin's entertainment. But I knew 
already that all such language was what the 
French call banal, and did but express in the 
female mouth, below earth, that sort of desire to 
pass for amiable with the opposite sex which, 
above earth, arbitrary custom and hereditary 
transmission demonstrate by the mouth of the 
male. And just as a high-bred young lady, above 
earth, habituated to such compliments, feels that 
she cannot, without impropriety, return them, nor 
evince any great satisfaction at receiving them ; 
so I, who had learned polite manners at the house 
of so wealthy and dignified a Minister of that 
nation, could but smile and try to look pretty in 
bashfully disclaiming the compliments showered 
upon me. While we were thus talking, Tae's 


sister, it seems, had seen us from the upper rooms 
of the Royal Palace at the entrance of the town, 
and, precipitating herself on her wings, alighted 
in the midst of the group. 

Singling me out, she said, though still with 
the inimitable deference of manner which I have 
called 'chivalrous/ yet not without a certain 
abruptness of tone which, as addressed to the 
weaker sex, Sir Philip Sidney might have termed 
'rustic/ " Why do you never come to see us ? " 

While I was deliberating on the right answer 
to give to this unlooked-for question, Tae said 
quickly and sternly, " Sister, you forget — the 
stranger is of my sex. It is not for persons of 
my sex, having due regard for reputation and 
modesty, to lower themselves by running after 
the society of yours." 

This speech was received with evident approval 
by the young Gy-ei in general ; but Tae's sister 
looked greatly abashed. Poor thing ! — and a 
Princess too ! 

Just at this moment a shadow fell on the space 
between me and the group ; and, turning round, 
I beheld the chief magistrate coming close upon 


us, with the silent and stately pace peculiar to 
the Vril-ya. At the sight of his countenance, the 
same terror which had seized me when I first be- 
held it returned. On that brow, in those eyes, 
there was that same indefinable something which 
marked the being of a race fatal to our own — 
that strange expression of serene exemption from 
our common cares and passions, of conscious 
superior power, compassionate and inflexible as 
that of a judge who pronounces doom. I shiv- 
ered, and, inclining low, pressed the arm of my 
child -friend, and drew him onward silently. The 
Tur placed himself before our path, regarded me 
for a moment without speaking, then turned his 
eye quietly on his daughter's face, and, with a 
grave salutation to her and the other Gy-ei, went 
through the midst of the group, — still without 
a word. 



AViien Tae' and I found ourselves alone on the 
broad road that lay between the city and the 
chasm through which I had descended into this 
region beneath the light of the stars and sun, I 
said under my breath, " Child and friend, there 
is a look in your father's face which appals me. 
I feel as if, in its awful tranquillity, I gazed upon 

Tae did not immediately reply. He seemed 
agitated, and as if debating with himself by what 
words to soften some unwelcome intelligence. 
At last he said, " None of the Vril-ya fear death: 
do your' 

" The dread of death is implanted in the 
breasts of the race to which I belong. We can 
conquer it at the call of duty, of honour, of love. 
We can die for a truth, for a native land, for 


those who are dearer to us than ourselves. But 
if death do really threaten me now and here, 
where are such counteractions to the natural in- 
stinct which invests with awe and terror the con- 
templation of severance between soul and body V 

Tae' looked surprised, but there was great ten- 
derness in his voice as he replied, " I will tell my 
father what you say. I will entreat him to spare 
your life." 

"He has, then, already decreed to destroy it V 

" Tis my sister's fault or folly," said Tae, with 
some petulance. " But she spoke this morning 
to my father ; and, after she had spoken, he 
summoned me, as a chief among the children who 
are commissioned to destroy such lives as threaten 
the community, and he said to me, 'Take thy 
vril staff, and seek the stranger who has made 
himself dear to thee. Be his end painless and 
prompt.' " 

" And," I faltered, recoiling from the child — ■ 
" and it is, then, for my murder that thus treach- 
erously thou hast invited me forth \ No, I cannot 
believe it. I cannot think thee guilty of such a 


" It is no crime to slay those who threaten the 
good of the community ; it would be a crime to 
slay the smallest insect that cannot harm us." 

" If you mean that I threaten the good of the 
community because your sister honours me with 
the sort of preference which a child may feel for 
a strange plaything, it is not necessary to kill 
me. Let me return to the people I have left, 
and by the chasm through which I descended. 
With a slight help from you, I might do so now. 
You, by the aid of your wings, could fasten to 
the rocky ledge within the chasm the cord that 
you found, and have no doubt preserved. Do 
but that ; assist me but to the spot from which 
I alighted, and I vanish from your world for 
ever, and as surely as if I were among the dead." 

" The chasm through which you descended ! 
Look round ; we stand now on the very place 
where it yawned. What see you \ Only solid 
rock. The chasm was closed, by the orders of Aph- 
Lin, as soon as communication between him' and 
yourself was established in your trance, and he 
learned from your own lips the nature of the 
world from which you came. Do you not re- 


member when Zee bade me not question you as 
to yourself or your race % On quitting you that 
day, Aph-Lin accosted me, and said, ' No path 
between the stranger's home and ours should be 
left unclosed, or the sorrow and evil of his home 
may descend to ours. Take with thee the chil- 
dren of thy band, smite the sides of the cavern 
with your vril staves till the fall of their frag- 
ments fills up every chink through which a gleam 
of our lamps could force its way.'" 

As the child spoke, I stared aghast at the 
blind rocks before me. Huge and irregular, the 
granite masses, showing by charred discoloration 
where they had been shattered, rose from footing 
to roof-top ; not a cranny ! 

" All hope, then, is gone," I murmured, sink- 
ing down on the craggy wayside, " and I shall 
nevermore see the sun." I covered my face 
with my hands, and prayed to Him whose pre- 
sence I had so often forgotten when the heavens 
had declared His handiwork. I felt His presence 
in the depths of the nether earth, and amidst the 
world of the grave. I looked up, taking comfort 
and courage from my prayers, and gazing with a 


quiet smile into the face of the child, said, " Now, 
if thou must slay me, strike." 

Tae shook his head gently. " Nay," he said, 
" my father's request is not so formally made as 
to leave me no choice. I will speak with him, 
and I may prevail to save thee. Strange that 
thou shouldst have that fear of death which we 
thought was only the instinct of the inferior 
creatures, to whom the conviction of another life 
has not been vouchsafed. With us, not an in- 
fant knows such a fear. Tell me, my dear Tish," 
he continued, after a little pause, " would it re- 
concile thee more to departure from this form of 
life to that form which lies on the other side of 
the moment called ' death,' did I share thy jour- 
ney % If so, I will ask my father whether it be 
allowable for me to go with thee. I am one of 
our generation destined to emigrate, when of age 
for it, to some regions unknown within this 
world. I would just as soon emigrate now to 
regions unknown, in another world. The All- 
Good is no less there than here. Where is He 
not V 

" Child," said I, seeing by Tae's countenance 


that he spoke in serious earnest, " it is crime in 
thee to slay me ; it were a crime not less in me 
to say, ' Slay thyself.' The All-Good chooses 
His own time to give us life, and His own time 
to take it away. Let us go back. If, on speak- 
ing with thy father, he decides on my death, 
give me the longest warning in thy power, so 
that I may pass the interval in self-preparation." 
We walked back to the city, conversing but 
by fits and starts. We could not understand 
each other's reasonings, and I felt for the fair 
child, with his soft voice and beautiful face, 
much as a convict feels for the executioner who 
walks beside him to the place of doom. 



In the midst of those hours set apart for sleep 
and constituting the night of the Yril-ya, I was 
awakened from the disturbed slumber into which 
I had not long fallen, by a hand on my shoulder. 
I started, and beheld Zee standing beside me. 

" Hush," she said, in a whisper ; "let no one 
hear us. Dost thou think that I have ceased to 
watch over thy safety because I could not win thy 
love 1 I have seen Tae. He has not prevailed 
with his father, who had meanwhile conferred 
with the three sages whom, in doubtful matters, 
he takes into council, and by their advice he has 
ordained thee to perish when the world re-awakens 
to life. I will save thee. Eise and dress." 

Zee pointed to a table by the couch on which 
I saw the clothes I had worn on quitting the 
upper world, and which I had exchanged sub- 


sequently for the more picturesque garments of 
the Vril-ya. The young Gy then moved towards 
the casement and stepped into the balcony, while 
hastily and wonderingly I donned my own habili- 
ments. When I joined her on the balcony, her 
face was pale and rigid. Taking me by the 
hand, she said softly, " See how brightly the art 
of the Vril-ya has lighted up the world in which 
they dwell. To-morrow that world will be dark 
to me." She drew me back into the room with- 
out waiting for my answer, thence into the cor- 
ridor, from which we descended into the hall. 
We passed into the deserted streets and along the 
broad upward road which wound beneath the 
rocks. Here, where there is neither day nor 
night, the Silent Hours are unutterably solemn, 
— the vast space illumined by mortal skill is so 
wholly without the sight and stir of mortal life. 
Soft as were our footsteps, their sounds vexed the 
ear, as out of harmony with the universal repose. 
I was aware in my own mind, though Zee said it 
not, that she had decided to assist my return to 
the upper world, and that we were bound towards 
the place from which I had descended. Her 


silence infected me, and commanded mine. And 
now we approached the chasm. It had been re- 
opened ; not presenting, indeed, the same aspect 
us when I had emerged from it, but, through that 
closed Avail of rock before which I had last 
stood Avith Tae, a neAV cleft had been riven, 
and along its blackened sides still glimmered 
sparks and smouldered embers. My upward 
gaze could not, hoAvever, penetrate more than a 
feAV feet into the darkness of the IioIIoav void, and 
I stood dismayed, and wondering how that grim 
ascent was to be made. 

Zee divined my doubt. " Fear not," said she, 
with a faint smile ; " your return is assured. I 
besran this work when the Silent Hours com- 
menced, and all else Avere asleep : believe that I 
did not pause till the path back into thy world 
Avas clear. I shall be with thee a little while yet. 
We do not part until thou sayest, ' Go, for I need 
thee no more.' ' 

My heart smote me with remorse at these 
words. " Ah ! " I exclaimed, " would that thou 
Avert of my race or I of thine, then I should 
never say, ' I need thee no more.' ' 


" I bless thee for those words, and I shall re- 
member them when thou art gone," answered the 
Gy, tenderly. 

During this brief interchange of words, Zee 
had turned away from me, her form bent and her 
head bowed over her breast. Now, she rose to 
the full height of her grand stature, and stood 
fronting me. While she had been thus averted 
from my gaze, she had lighted up the circlet 
that she wore round her brow, so that it blazed 
as if it were a crown of stars. Not only her face 
and her form, but the atmosphere around, were 
illumined by the effulgence of the diadem. 

" Now," said she, " put thine arms around me 
for the first and last time. Nay, thus ; courage, 
and cling firm." 

As she spoke her form dilated, the vast wings 
expanded. Clinging to her, I was borne aloft 
through the terrible chasm. The starry light 
from her forehead shot around and before as 
through tlic darkness. Brightly, and steadfastly, 
and swiftly as an angel may soar heavenward 
with the soul it rescues from the grave, went the 
flight of the Cry, till I beard in the distance th«' 



hum of human voices, the sounds of human toil. 
We halted on the flooring of one of the galleries 
of the mine, and beyond, in the vista, burned the 
dim, rare, feeble lamps of the miners. Then I 
released my hold. The Gy kissed me on my 
forehead passionately, but as with a mother's 
passion, and said, as the tears gushed from her 
eyes, " Farewell for ever. Thou wilt not let me 
go into thy world — thou canst never return to 
mine. Ere our household shake off slumber, the 
rocks will have again closed over the chasm, not 
to be re-opened by me, nor perhaps by others, for 
ages yet unguessed. Think of me sometimes, 
and with kindness. When I reach the life that 
lies beyond this speck in time, I shall look round 
for thee. Even there, the world consigned to 
thyself and thy people may have rocks and gulfs 
which divide it from that in which I rejoin 
those of my race that have gone before, and I 
may be powerless to cleave way to regain thee as 
I have cloven way to lose." 

Her voice ceased. I heard the swan-like sough 
of her wings, and saw the rays of her starry dia- 
dem receding far and farther through the gloom. 


I sate myself down for some time, musing sor- 
rowfully ; then I rose and took my way with slow 
footsteps towards the place in which I heard the 
sounds of men. The miners I encountered were 
strange to me, of another nation than my own. 
They turned to look at me with some surprise, 
but finding that I could not answer their brief 
questions in their own language, they returned to 
their work and suffered me to pass on unmolested. 
In fine, I regained the mouth of the mine, little 
troubled by other interrogatories: — save those of a 
friendly official to whom I was known, and luckily 
he was too busy to talk much with me. I took 
care not to return to my former lodging, but 
hastened that very day to quit a neighbourhood 
where I could not long have escaped inquiries to 
which I could have given no satisfactory answers. 
I regained in safety my own country, in which I 
have been long peacefully settled, and engaged 
in practical business, till I retired, on a com- 
petent fortune, three years ago. I have been 
little invited and little tempted to talk of the 
rovings and adventures of my youth. Somewhat 
disappointed, as most men are, in matters con- 


nectcd with household love and domestic life, 1 
often think of the young Gy as I sit alone at 
night, and wonder how I could have rejected such 
a love, no matter what dangers attended it, or 
by what conditions it was restricted. Only,, the 
more I think of a people calmly developing, in 
regions excluded from our sight and deemed un- 
inhabitable by our sages, powers surpassing our 
most disciplined modes of force, and virtues to 
which our life, social and political, becomes 
antagonistic in proportion as our civilisation 
advances, — the more devoutly I pray that ages 
may yet elapse before there emerge into sunlight 
our inevitable destroyers. Being, however, frankly 
told by my physician that I am afflicted by a 
complaint which, though it gives little pain and 
no perceptible notice of its encroachments, may 
at any moment be fatal, I have thought it my 
duty to my fellow-men to place on record these 
fore warnings of The Coming Race.